WHAT THEY SAY
Cross-posted from The Blood-Horse
WRITTEN BY TOM LaMARRA
The Jockey Club intends to continue with its efforts to market Thoroughbred racing and develop new patrons, but the organization’s leader said Aug. 12 those efforts must go hand in hand with medication and penalty reforms.
Jockey Club chairman Ogden Mills Phipps presented information designed to send the message that racing is being greatly damaged by drug violators — even if the number of them is relative small. The data gleaned by McKinsey & Company shows that 98.5% of about 12,800 trainers had no medication violations from 2005-11.
“Is anyone satisfied with that scenario?” Phipps said. “Is anyone satisfied with a situation in which 1.5% of the population is shaping 100% of the perception of our sport? Should we be satisfied with medication rules that arguably protect about 1% of the trainer population–the 1% that repeatedly demonstrate under disregard for the rules?
“Those 12,000 trainers should have no issue with the (Reformed Racing Medication Rules), because they were already adhering to them, as evidenced by their regulatory history.”
WHAT WE SAY
First of all taking a cynical look, the word “marketing” sends a warning that this could be nothing more than a high-priced public relations exercise. Use of the word “integrity” may indicate that this is the focus of that exercise.
Secondly, does the Jockey Club seriously believe that the number of horse dopers in U.S. racing is “relatively small”? How accurate is that 1.5% figure?
For example, if we take a look at the latest horse doping scandal (I think, it is hard to keep up) involving dermorphin, numerous horses are testing positive in a significant number of reported States. However, there seem to be very few medication violations being handed out.
Plus Racing Commissioners International, a trade association for racing regulators, say they simply cannot keep up with it all. So how many of the 98.5% of trainers they claim have clean records actually have them?
It seems to us the percentage of horse dopers among trainers must be a lot higher if for no other reason they just do not get caught to start with.
Is that the “integrity” they intend to market?
— Overall rule and radical reform not damage control required in horse racing; Tuesday’s Horse; Jul. 18, 2012