The New York Times' Joe Drape is at it again, accusing the thoroughbred industry of drowning in drugs. This time its a video presentation on the front page of nytimes.com. (Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.)
My problem with Mr. Drape is that he (and others...hi Deadspin.com!) is speaking out of whole ignorance. He is pushing this issue in a direction that he hope will get him a medal, not correct the problem.
Peanut Gallery: "Excuse me, what about Doug O'Neil and his suspension?!?!?!"
The California Horse Racing Commission by its own admission, stated that Doug O'Neil's horse (that' s one horse, not horses) was never found to have illegal substances in it. They stated that they THINK that it had an illegal substance.
Peanut Gallery: "Fine, but, but, but...what about the 2012 Triple Crown horses...we are sure they used drugs....surely some of them got busted!"
No, not one, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another was found to have any illegal substance in them. Mr. Drape, of course, states only that no one was busted for frog venom.
Here are two other problems Mr. Drape's narrative:
Mr. Drape (and I assume its him narrating) states that drugs are being used to make horses go faster. Then proceeds to talk about pain killing drugs. Different drugs, different problem. Steroids are used to make a horse go faster. The pain killing drugs is a different issue. That is just outright cruelty.
Mr. Drape starts at the video in Kentucky, so I assume he is going to focus on the thoroughbred race industry. He then proceeds to talk about a quarterhorse...in Louisiana..... Mr. Drape (and others), here is you racing education 101: quarterhorses and thoroughbred racing are two industries with a Grand Canyon size worth of differences. Nit picky? Maybe. But it would be like saying their are recruiting violations in the NFL. I would expect someone who works for the New York Times and allegedly covers horse racing full time to point out and know the difference.
Peanut Gallery: "Umm....the NFL doesn't recruit like college football....oh that's the point. Never mind."
Now, I always have to say this. I abhor trainers that abuse horses with drugs. I believe the rules should be tougher. I believe people like Rick Dutrow should be thrown out of the sport forever. However, that's all Mr. Drape ever writes about horse racing: drugs. Its like we don't even run a sport. Just a the biggest drug lab this side of the jungles of Columbia. Is the NFL or MLB covered this way? No, of course not. So, lets just give Mr. Drape an Eclipse Award and get it out of the way. That's what he wants and it will make him go away.
I fully expect Sally Jekins of the Washington Post to do story on the issue this week.