Integrity We Can Believe In By Eric Mitchell

 (Originally published in the February 12, 2011 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions at the bottom of the column.

By Eric Mitchell - @EJMitchellKy on Twitter

[Santa Anita Park was accredited with the Oak Tree Racing Association in 2009. An earlier version of this post stated otherwise.]

By Eric Mitchell The aftermath of the Life At Ten debacle during the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 5 stretches into week 15 without resolution.

While it is certainly admirable the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is leaving no stone unturned (89 interviews conducted), the longer this travesty goes without answers or action, the worse it looks for all involved—Kentucky, the Breeders’ Cup, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

In summary, Life At Ten was the 7-2 second-choice in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I). While in the saddling paddock, it became apparent to trainer Todd Pletcher and others in the vicinity that the multiple grade I winner was not herself. She was described as sluggish. In the past the mare had been a little slow to warm up, so Pletcher sent jockey John Velazquez out to the track to see if she would show more energy. During a pre-race interview on ESPN with analyst and former jockey Jerry Bailey, Velazquez told a national audience the mare was not right. Velazquez apparently said nothing to the veterinarians stationed around the track and the starting gate. A television producer, however, did alert the stewards to what Velazquez told Bailey.

Still, Life At Ten was loaded into the gate, started without any sense of urgency or energy, and was not persevered with for the remainder of the Ladies’ Classic. After the race Pletcher suggested she may have had an adverse reaction to Salix, an anti-bleeder medication. No blood or urine samples were taken after the race because the testing barn was full and it would have been unsafe to put her in the already crowded barn, according to chief steward John Veitch.

One misstep after the other.

Another disturbing layer added to this mess is that Churchill Downs, host of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup, is accredited through the NTRA’s Safety and Integrity Alliance. The purpose of the alliance is to establish standards and practices that promote the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing. These standards include injury reporting and prevention through programs such as pre-race veterinary inspections, medication and testing, jockey safety and health standards, aftercare for retired racehorses, and wagering security. These are admirable programs, and we must strive to implement uniform standards at all racetracks.

But how does the Life At Ten episode reflect on the effectiveness of this program? Churchill Downs spent tens of thousands of dollars on the accreditation process, made changes and upgrades, and went through an inspection of all its facilities and processes. And still, a horse unfit to race was allowed to start on racing’s championship day.

“It is very troubling, but we think the situation underscores the need for the alliance,” said NTRA president Alex Waldrop.

Interest in the voluntary accreditation has been sluggish. Only 19 of about 65 racetracks have signed on in two years—14 in 2009 and five in 2010. The alliance’s independent monitor, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, recently reiterated his disappointment and even suggested the American Graded Stakes Committee, which is run by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, consider withholding graded status from races run at unaccredited tracks. That’s an interesting and probably ineffective bit of coercion, even if the AGSC agreed to it. And its members didn’t.

 Does anyone in the industry have the stomach or the legal authority to take the graded stakes away from Oaklawn or Gulfstream Park, which are not accredited? Are we willing to let our historically premier races go ungraded or moved to another track? Or, what if it is revealed in the Life At Ten mess that Churchill Downs violated some condition of its accreditation? Would the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands or Kentucky Oaks (both gr. I) lose their graded status? We all know the answer is no.

The NTRA admits it needs to do a better job selling the alliance to the public, but more importantly it first needs to sell the alliance to the industry. The first step might be to show the racetracks accreditation means something and has direct benefits—that adopting uniform standards on safety and integrity could help restore confidence in Thoroughbred racing. More confidence means more owner participation, higher handle from gamblers, and higher TV ratings (when races are on TV, but that’s another column) from fans.

Life At Ten put us at this crossroads. The end result of the investigation must be meaningful and substantive, or the integrity of the alliance could be lost.

47 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Bryan

The alliance has probably already lost its integrity, and the whole investigation into this mess is a joke.  89 people interviewed??  I don't consider that admirable.  I consider that lunacy in attempt to cover up something and make it look like they are really being thorough. How could 89 people really be invovled in this??  Were they interviewing the parking attendants to see if granny was wearing her unlucky hat instead of the lucky one thus tilting the axis of the earth off by .009 degrees and causing virgo to interject into the realm of Jupiter, thus making it obvious that Life At Ten was destined to be not right that night??  Come on.  There are maybe 10 people you need to interview..maybe only 4 if you really break it down.  They are Johnny V., Todd Pletcher, Whomever the veterinarian in charge was that night, and Jon Veitch.  Thats it.  You can get all the answers you need from them. I would love to know who is footing the bill for how much this investigation must be costing people.  They are just going to drag this on and on until they hope people forget about it.  I have always been more concerned for the fact they ran an unfit horse that could have been seriously injured than a case of bettor fraud.  However, if it means getting to the bottom of it quicker, I say haul all of them before a congressional committee and have them testify under oath.  Then at least some answers would be made public.  The truth of the matter is that if this was not a high profile trainer and jockey, it would have been investigated and ruled on in an afternoon....with due suspensions and fines handed out.  

15 Feb 2011 1:01 PM
Equination.net

I really don't understand why the Life At Ten "incident" became such an issue to begin with.  Aside from not seeming herself and being quiet in the post parade (which isn't unusual for her as her trainer stated) there were no real signs she wasn't going to show any run.  By this logic, Baze should have scratched Silver Medallion from the El Camino Real Derby on the weekend because the horse was so quiet in the post parade that he thought he was sick.

Of course, hindsight changes everything, but if you take away the end result and look only at the events leading up to the gates, not too many people saw any major red flags and the bets kept pouring in as everyone watched her load in for the start.  They saw a horse who seemed a bit quiet, which happens quite a bit in racing.  If any of those who were closely connected to the horse thought she really wasn't herself so much so that she shouldn't race, they would have contacted the stewards.  Johnny V's comments got blown out of proportion and I think he was hoping that, much like Baze was with Silver Medallion, she would wake up once the gates opened and was just being incredibly relaxed in the post parade.

But, especially considering she just loped around the track and wasn't hurt in any way, I don't understand the problem.  Horses break out of the gates and don't run, break down or get pulled up all the time all over the country and that never warrants a massive investigation.

What is going to come of the investigation anyway?  The ability to point the finger at someone and cast blame?  If anything, it will just cut down our number of entries since every horse who seems a bit quiet in the post parade will have to be scratched to avoid another "Life At Ten Incident" from happening again.

15 Feb 2011 1:58 PM
Nancy

thank you, you said it all.

15 Feb 2011 2:28 PM
SimplyNotSureRU

Crapola in a snowstorm. I am amazed by the amazement of everyone else. All I see is the racing industry at its very finest. Business as usual. Lieing and foot-dragging are minimum requirements to belong to this club. Suckers are suckers. No one in this industry signs a contract guaranteeing the fan a fair shake. It is said that a "sucker" is born every minute. If that is even half true, then racing and Alex Waldrop's job are safe.

Anyone read about Alex's new plan to save racing and add millions of suckers, I mean fans, to racing's rolls? Yeah. Night classes through Dec 2011 teaching fans to be the best suckers they can be. And it is "free" for "paying" members. This sure sounds like it is going to save racing from itself, alright.

It is easy and does not involve anything like integrity, updating wagering processes, eliminating breakage theft, lowering take or eliminating past post odds drops. Nooooo. This is racing's kind of plan. Easy, cheap and totally a waste of more time. You know, like this farce of an investigation that will end with worthless opinions and nothing more...

15 Feb 2011 2:31 PM
makarra

The more things change the more they stay the same. Holy Bull won the Hutcheson, the Florida Derby and the Blue Grass after going undefeated as a 2 year old. A heavy favorite, he ran 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He never lost again until he was pulled up in his final start. Jimmy Croll was positive that he was "got to" before the Derby, as he acted sluggish but no visible signs of illness. And millions of dollars were wagered on a post time favorite in the most visible race in the world who WAS NOT SENT TO THE TEST BARN.

Fast forward to 2010 Breeders' Cup and Life At Ten. The more things change, the more they stay the same. And we wonder why we have a problem with low integrity. Do we ever learn or is it always "next time"?

15 Feb 2011 2:31 PM
Bryan

I disagree with you Equinenation.  Pletcher himself said she seemed even more lethargic than usual, even sedate in the paddock, and Johnny V. said all through the post parade she was not warming up right. Not just being sedate but feeling a little stiff and not moving like she normally does. You are right in that the bettors saw nothing wrong, but it is on the jockey and trainer to notice something was not right.  I'm reminded of the 1992 Breeders cup sprint when Mr. Brooks broke down and another jockey said to NBC that Piggot told him the horse warmed up terrible.  Now, again that is on the jockey to say something and he didn't.  

As far as not being harmed, she did tie up after the race pretty bad (which I will admit horses do) but it just shows that she was not right from the start.

An investigation...yes....would provide some accountability for the people invovled.  It will never happen, but it will make the sport look a little more respectable.  

15 Feb 2011 2:56 PM
scott

You all forget these are animals and not machines.  They have good days and bad.  They can not verbally talk to us.  Sometimes humans miss the signs.  Sometimes we dont.  It's not about fixing races.  It about who is the best horse person with the best horse that day.  And quiet, can change.  Alysheba (listening to the idiots), would not have run in the Preakness either.  You just never know.  And thats the whole problem, there is no answer.  

15 Feb 2011 3:24 PM
pistol

Only issue here is that people heard what was being said.  I'm sure this goes on all the time with horses who just are not themselves that day.  Now people want to blame someone because they actually heard a converation that they would normally not hear.

That's horse racing, sometimes a horse does not feel like it and run accordingly.  I've seen sluggish horses win and lose. as well as overly excited horses.  I thought Six Perfections was toast in the BC acting up prior to the loading in the gate, she won. QR acting up a couple years ago got scratched in the BC.  Pre race  behaviour is not 100 percent as to how a horse will run.

15 Feb 2011 3:29 PM
Susan

Well said, Equination, and I agree. The sad thing is that this has become a rant by conspiracy-crazed  people who most likely have never been around horses. It has been so blown out of proportion, it's boring and ridiculous. Many, horses have an adverse reaction to Lasix, ( if that's what it was) We may have even seen a couple this weekend, with the way a few of the favotites ran across the country. Horses get sick at the wrong time. What's next ? I'm surprised people aren't demanding that a  vet should do a full physical on each and every horse before they walk over to the paddock.

JV may have used the wrong words to express what he was feeling. He would not have ridden that filly if she was going to collapse.

15 Feb 2011 3:37 PM
needler in Virginia

The Life at Ten mess just keeps growing, doesn't it? 89 INTERVIEWS?? WHO ARE THEY KIDDING?? The jock saw it, the trainer saw it. BOTH are required to report something like this. It is, eventually, on Pletcher's shoulders; he is the trainer and the buck really DOES stop there. The jock should have let either Pletcher or a steward know that the horse "wasn't right". Obviously someone DID let the world know and that someone was Johnny V. He told the whole world the horse wasn't right. We all heard it.

This whole thing smells of three day old fish, and the longer the "investigators" take, the worse the thing smells. CD and Pletcher failed in their duty of care-- to the bettors, to the horse, and to the owners.

Shame on Todd Pletcher for saying nothing; shame on CD for not REQUIRING post race testing. Neither  can claim a quality product if this is what we get. Things aren't looking all that well for this year's BC, are they? And who will skate on a questionable issue this year?

The investigators need to get off the damn dime, make a serious decision, and STICK TO IT. This is not a little thing; this is a HUGE thing....seen, AND HEARD, on worldwide TV. Makes the BC pretty pathetic with its' protestations of "integrity" and "quality". HA! If you have a "big" name you are obviously exempt from integrity and quality requirements that others must meet.

Think I'm cranky about this??

Cheers and safe trips to almost all............

15 Feb 2011 4:17 PM
Giddyup

What a shame horses can't talk. I would love to hear LAT's reaction on learning Pletcher received an Eclipse award for best trainer.

15 Feb 2011 5:39 PM
Susan

Unfortunately, Tapizar chipped a knee this weekend.

According to the quote in the Blood Horse interview with the Winchell racing manager...

“He wasn’t acting like himself before and during the race for whatever reason" Was there someone to blame? Did the vets miss something? Should they have scratched him in the paddock? In the Post Parade? at the gate?

This stuff happens, horses are fragile...

15 Feb 2011 5:53 PM
Ragsy

Remember:

The bigger the pot, the more you stir, the thicker it gets....

and we know what that is!

15 Feb 2011 5:59 PM
Brandi

I agree with Bryan. Shame on Churchill Downs for dragging this problem out. Seems as though they don't want to make Pletcher or Johnny V look bad. They both knew something was wrong with LAT, and need to be held accountable. Alot of people lost thousands of dollars on their bad decision.

But to me it was all about the money they were trying to win. Scratching the horse meant they had no chance to win the 1st place money. Shame on both of them also.

I look down on both of these men now. Have no respect for them.

15 Feb 2011 6:36 PM
goodwin

Bottom line: Pletcher is the trainer, and he should be embarrassed that he looked so inept in his job. The buck stops with him on this one, and I am quite surprised that big owners still send expensive race horses to a man who was so obviously either out of touch with his horse, or didn't want to make a hard decision. Either way, he certainly doesn't look like the detail-oriented commander put forth in all his press.

15 Feb 2011 7:22 PM
Carl

Another comment that won't see the light of day: You (The BloodHorse) are just as guilty as the offenders here because you will not put name to the real culprit. Trainer of the year Todd Pletcher has a track record that is becoming highly suspect. Quality Road throws a magnificent fit prior to the 2009 Classic and everybody blames the horse; Life At Ten looked "drained and lethargic" during the post parade for the 2010 Distaff and never ran a step; (I cancelled my bet on her); Then, the very fast and game Quality Road stops and runs dead last in the 2010 Classic. If it were any other (lesser) trainer, there would at least be talk about something "NOT" being on the up and up, but because it is Pletcher, no one is even saying his name. Anything that happened to Life at Ten, prior to the race happened at the direction of the trainer, and it was part of the stable practice of said trainer to follow this pattern of activity. But again, I understand your legal concerns here. Yet and still, at some point, you are going to have to man-up and speak the truth. You owe it to your followers and the public in general. That is, if you have any interest in the truth.

15 Feb 2011 7:36 PM
EJMitchellKy

Thanks for all the comments.

Brandi, you should know that it is not Churchill Downs that is handling the investigation. Rather it is the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

15 Feb 2011 8:13 PM
RAMMER

It is outrageous that they did not take a blood test!  With a million dollars bet on her you'd think someone would have done something smart. Once again the bettors were screwed! Was Pletcher & Johnny V too tired to care?  Did they make too much $$$ already to bother?  This is absolutely the pitts!  

15 Feb 2011 9:07 PM
sceptre

Needless to say, I (and all of you) have had plenty of time to reflect on this. Without being privy to all the details/specifics of the case, at best Pletcher's (and the Vets') culpability falls into the "gray" areas. But, I see no such gray area where it concerns Velasquez. He BELIEVED the filly wasn't right. He then had two avenues available to him to act CORRECTLY.-1. He could have informed the vets on the scene of his concern, but he chose not to do this. 2. He could have refused to allow her to be loaded-stating then his concerns whereupon the vets would be summoned, but he also chose not to do this. Instead, he took it upon himself to be the final arbitor of her fate-allowed her to be loaded and break from the gate. He assumed that his know-how and skills were enough to keep her from harm-gambling that she just might "wake-up". It was that faint hope that kept him silent (relative to the powers that be). It was all quite calculated-and inexcusably immoral from the perspective of potential injury to the animal. I'm not suggesting that there aren't others also at fault, but it appears certain that Velasquez has no valid defence.  

15 Feb 2011 9:15 PM
Johnny

Yep its a joke..

But hey he only a eclipse award winning trainer..

15 Feb 2011 9:45 PM
tvnewsbadge

"Crossroads" nothing. As the Tapizar headline today proves, in spite of Life At Ten, they still insist on running horses  they know ain't right

15 Feb 2011 10:03 PM
John T

John Velazquez knew when he was warming up Life At Ten she was not

herself.In fairness he told that to

tv analyst and former top jockey

Jerry Bailey in front of a national

tv audience.The big question after

that is why was,nt she withdrawn at

the start? At 7/2 in a Breeders Cup

race millions of dollars would have been lost by the bettors.Also

with a large tv audience watching

it did nothing to encourage would be fans to stay interested.

15 Feb 2011 10:03 PM
NancyP

Hi Eric,

Thank you for the thoughtful article.  I don't care about my unfulfilled bet on Life At Ten, but I do care about whatever caused her not to be herself at the BC.  Even more importantly, I would like to have an update as to her physical condition now.  Has she recovered from whatever was ailing her?  Will she continue racing, or is her career over?  She is a wonderful athlete who was not served well by her trainer and jockey.  Numerous times prior to the start of the race, interviewers speaking with Pletcher and Gomez were told she was not quite right.  In reality, the call to scratch her SHOULD have come from Pletcher and Gomez.  They both shirked their responsibility to her!  Shame on them!

Eric, please do you have any current information on Life At Ten now?  

Thanks,

NancyP

15 Feb 2011 10:41 PM
Mike Relva

EQUINATION.NET

Yeah,it's only a horse,right? Why don't you show some respect for a horse that was loaded into the gate when she  SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN THERE! You are absurd!

15 Feb 2011 11:02 PM
Barbara W

I'm just an outsider and not fortunate enough to be able to afford to own racehorses, but if I did, I would put them in the hands of a trainer who does not have so many already.

15 Feb 2011 11:31 PM
Get it right

This summation is way off the mark!!!

The sole issue in need of review by authorities is one Jerry Bailey, under the employ of ESPN television, having told a national TV viewing audience that he "just got the 'word' from John Velazquez" shortly before said jockey appeared to 'stiff' his mount in the B.C. Ladies' Classic.

What needs to come of this before anything else is the cessation of on-air interviews with persons who should be acting responsibly in a sporting event.

Any health-related issues relating to Life at Ten were similar to those which take place on just about every race card in America.  You just don't get/have to know which animals are so afflicted.

We already know that the stewards had a first chance at making a move relating to Life at Ten and that they opted not to do so.  That's fine - it was a judgment call and somebody made a call.

What is not appropriate is for on-air announcers to have tampered or appeared to tamper with the integrity of a sporting event.

16 Feb 2011 1:05 AM
Rachel

Equination.net: Go to Youtube and find the pre-race commentator & warm up video...you can watch LAT actually stumbling and her stiff-legged walking...many, many people saw it, I mean that's what Jerry Bailey saw & why he said something to begin with, I saw it, too.

16 Feb 2011 7:25 AM
LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

It's not the horses that are doing wrong-it's their people!  It is a shame that it like this and that people for whatever the reason, make the horses, the honest ones, suffer.

16 Feb 2011 9:51 AM
Ethel

Maybe Pletcher has to much on his plate yes everyone wants the best trainer to be sure but how much can one handle is that the question?

16 Feb 2011 10:53 AM
Brian Appleton

@ NancyP - Life At Ten had her first work of the year on Sunday, just an easy 3 furlong work in 38.50. As far as I know there is no target right now but she is doing well.

16 Feb 2011 12:51 PM
Zenyatta John

It is a complete travesty. Both Johnny V. and Toad Pletcher should be suspended for 6 months or more. The jockey clearly knew there was a problem with Life at Ten as he told us on live TV.

Even Toad Pletcher knew she wasn't right in the paddock. Both men have obligations to tell the vet or state official that there is a problem.

The both should be arrested for "Interfering with the outcome of a sporting event."  How about fraud? Where is the FBI? Millions of dollars were stolen from the general public because he basically galloped the mare around the track.

Put them in jail next to Greg Martin.

16 Feb 2011 2:39 PM
easygoer1322

Ban all drugs including the ones currently legal.

Suspend and fine all violators.

Repeat violators need to be banned from the sport.

I just read that Rick Dutrow has been fined 90 days for using painkillers and for hypodermic needles being found in his barn.

How many violations does it take?

The sport lacks integrity and does very little to try to get it back.

16 Feb 2011 4:01 PM
Mike Relva

EQUINATION.NET

You couldn't be more wrong!

16 Feb 2011 6:49 PM
tvnewsbadge

Get it right says

"What needs to come of this before anything else is the cessation of on-air interviews with persons who should be acting responsibly in a sporting event."

And that's what WILL come of this. Having it out there on the public record makes it too damn hard to sweep it under the rug, which is exactly what would have happened without Mr. Bailey and most likely  will happen anyway.

16 Feb 2011 9:58 PM
tvnewsbadge

It's no mystery what happened. This was a high profile even tan and they weren't ABOUT to pull this horse come hell or high water.

It went badly, they got caught,and now they're frankly trying to find some poor disposable sap to pin it on.

16 Feb 2011 10:02 PM
TripleCrownKaren

The fact that trainer Todd Pletcher KNEW his horse didn't "look right" should have caused him to pull her right then & there.   If not, then when the Jockey only confirmed this by saying she didn't FEEL right this mare should have been PULLED! PERIOD!  And at that point the vest should have ogtten involved and done THEIR job.   Let's just suppose this mare went DOWN and caused major damage to herself and others in this race!   The trainer is WHOLLY at fault here as far as I am concerned.    I have trained & ridden ALL my life and when you "KNOW" your horse, you KNOW when they are "not right" and something needs to be seen to right then!   Better to risk being called TOO cautious than to risk another catastrophic breakdown.    This sport has more than enough BLACK MARKS recently and the fact that the "powers that be" still waffle and NO ONE seems to want to step up and be RESPONSIBLE for the health and well being of these horses who are making them all SO MUCH MONEY, is just unconsionable!   The sport will keep losing fan base and "paying customers" as long as this continues.   Pretty soon the "glory days" of racing will be just a distant memory.    I have been involved in TB's my whole life and watched my first race as a 4 yr old (It was the KY Derby) but it has come to a point where I no longer even want to GO to the track anymore.    The trainers think it is all about them, the owners think it is all about them.....sorry folks.....but it's SUPPOSED TO BE ALL ABOUT THE HORSES!

17 Feb 2011 10:04 AM
Greg Baird

Seems almost criminal to me that as poorly as she performed after it was apparent she was "lifeless" and the jockey telling that to the TV audience, that John Veitch and/or all of the stewards should be disciplined by the Kentucky Racing Commission for not taking blood and urine samples following the race.

17 Feb 2011 11:01 AM
JerseyBoy

Equination.net:

You are right on.

I would add that the jockey and trainer would be total fools running a horse if they felt it would endanger the lives of others, including the life of the jockey. I have absolute faith in their judgement and give them my total support.

Velazquez has ridden horses for several years. He never hid the fact that he was unhappy with the way the horse was warming up. In fact, he revealed it, but since the horse was not lame, what was he supposed to do?. I support him fully.  If any action is taken against Velazquez I will just give up racing.

I had a bet on the horse. I cancelled it after the TV interview, then sat on the edge of my seat hoping the horse did not win anyway. That's racing.

This episode was a mistake. We should end the witch hunt right now and move on. Those who are upset  must have never watched the Grand National Steeplechase.

Horse racing is not a sport for the squeamish. And we should all remember that more people will die in traffic accidents this month

than horses dying during races. Now that is something worth investigating. Shall be punish the drivers for driving?

Long live King John!

17 Feb 2011 1:26 PM
Convene

I find myself wondering why, if the testing barn was too crowded, a veterinarian and an official could not have followed Life at Ten back to her stall or some other relatively quiet area and done a blood test? Drawing blood not a complex process! At least then there would be a clear chain of secure evidence and a chance to confirm or eliminate the various reasons for her poor performance.

17 Feb 2011 3:09 PM
sceptre

JerseyBoy,

Your overall message and, in particular, absurd analogy affords no support to the equally misguided Equitation.net. Should the fact that more people perish in traffic accidents than from certain diseases, murder, what have you, embolden us to look the other way and not attempt to remedy them?

19 Feb 2011 10:54 AM
Everything Zen

NTRA's Safety Alliance is just a Public Relations ploy to satisfy the public.  It is meaningless.  They came up with it after Eight Belles tragic breakdown to make the public believe they were working to make changes to make the sport safer - BLAH BLAH BLAH.  Sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher to me.  Rick Dutrow just got suspended AGAIN.  How many times is that now? Another slap on the hand for Ricky.  Horses are still running who have no business running. Thousands of horses are still being sent to slaughter.  Jockeys are still getting hurt badly.  Sorry but I don't see meaningful changes.      

19 Feb 2011 8:29 PM
JerseyBoy

sceptre:

You have avoided the issue. What I found outrageous in first your post is  that you seem to have made yourself the judge and jury of Velasquez's conduct and you were able to reach a conclusion ahead of the investigators . Did you speak with Velasquez?

I support his conduct because he had the necessary experience to act in the circumstances. He made a mistake. I am not a second-guesser.

I never suggested that attempts should not be made to solve the problems you listed. In fact, attempts should be made to solve all problems if such solutions would be cost-effective.

By the way, my feelings are strengthened by your response. It is particularly nice to know that those who disagree with you are "misguided".

19 Feb 2011 10:23 PM
JerseyBoy

Sceptre:

You wrote:

"it appears certain that Velasquez (sic) has no valid defence"

What is the charge against him?.

20 Feb 2011 7:59 AM
sceptre

JerseyBoy-

This is not a legal forum, and when I offered that Velazquez had not valid defence (for his actions/inaction) it was in reference to no valid moral defence. But, if you're looking for some potential "legal" (both "public", and/or "rules of Racing") charges, I might offer a few. Re- the "public" (ex. State Laws) charge- how about animal cruelty/endangering the life of an animal. As to general rules of racing-He was required to notify the vets (on scene) of his concerns and failed to do so. Now I'll await your futile attempt to nit pic or, perhaps, offer another poorly fashioned/illogical analogy. Don't waste the time.    

20 Feb 2011 5:06 PM
AngelaFromAbilene

"But how does the Life At Ten episode reflect on the effectiveness of this program?"

Very poorly.  Everyone involved knew LAT was off yet no one did a damn thng about it!  Her trainer knew in the paddock she wasn't right yet he went ahead and saddled her.  Her jockey knew when he was legged up she wasn't right yet he went ahead and allowed her to be loaded.  The stewards were notified she was off yet they allowed her to start.  At anytime prior to the gates opening, LAT could have been scratched.  

For them to now say the Test Barn was full is laughable.  I've been in Test Barns all across the country and yeah, it can get a little tight.  You may have to wait a few minutes for a stall and the whistler but it can be done.  And it very well should have.  Every track I have ever run at tests horses that either fail to run as expected or runs far better than expected.  

This whole ordeal shows the NTRA’s Safety and Integrity Alliance is a feel good joke!

22 Feb 2011 8:07 AM
Mike Relva

JERSEYBOY

So the health of the horse doesn't matter? You are way off!

23 Feb 2011 7:35 PM
Plodderman

Hey SimplyNotSureRU,

So, what you are saying is that they have been cheating since Holy Bull lost the Derby and YOU still wager? Wow.... that's just plain crazy.

For the record. Holy Bull couldn't go 1 1/4m. At least now, you can lose and feel good about it.

As for Life At Ten... I will believe she was reacting to the meds, like the trainer said.

01 Mar 2011 3:18 PM

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