The story that has taken the horse racing world by storm in the last 24 hours is the New York Times article that dropped yesterday, citing that Justify failed a drug test prior to winning the Kentucky Derby and eventually the Triple Crown in 2018: Article Here
Not a great PR year for horse racing. Justify tested positive for banned drugs in his win in the Santa Anita Derby, which should have resulted in disqualification and would have made him ineligible to participate in the Kentucky Derby. However, the California Horse Racing Board covered it up to protect Baffert and the potential Derby winner – That’s the gist.
To the outside world this scandal is shocking, but to those in tune with the horse racing industry like the Conductor, its the least surprising news all day. Read the story. The Chairman of the Board in charge of acting upon the failed drug test has ownership in Baffert’s horses. Justify’s breeding rights were then sold for 60 million after his Triple Crown run. That’s the horse racing industry in a nut shell.
Almost all of these super trainers are trying to get an edge and their success brings the owners loot, so they turn a blind eye. Its very similar to the steroid era in baseball, you have massive stables winning at ridiculous 30-40% rates and taking home all of the major stakes races. Just like McGuire, Sosa and random 2nd baseman hitting 50, 60, 70 HR’s in the late 90’s, it’s very hard to determine who is clean and who is not because the water is so muddied. The super horses and trainers attract mainstream media attention and gives a declining sport more dollars and eyeballs, so nobody running the sport says a word.
The Conductor is happy for this story to come out. The only way for changes to be made is for things like this to be exposed instead of swept under the rug like they have since the sport was invented. Horse Racing will always have a little slimy side and the Conductor doesn’t hate that, but the rampant drug use is bad for everyone. The owners, breeders, clean trainers, bettors and most importantly the horses all suffer.
This is the greatest gambling game in the world with the finest specimens competing and showing off their talent. There plenty of good people in the industry and they need to make major changes if the sport is going to succeed moving forward. This negative story could actually be a step in the right direction.
Belmont picks for today will be up shortly