The Blood-Horse reports that a date has been set for members of the racing industry to appear before members of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The hearing, entitled “Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns: The State of Thoroughbred Horseracing and the Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse,” will take place on June 19th.
Nice title, eh? I’m sure that a few hours in a hearing room is going to yield loads of useful information on this complex topic. Proving that our Congress really knows how to take advantage of public relations, Richard Dutrow is one of the trainers who’s been asked to appear.
Plans for this hearing were launched in May, following the breakdown of Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby. According to the article in The Blood-Horse, the subcommittee also noted the “high-profile” breakdowns of Barbaro and George Washington, which
point to a persistent and widespread problem, raising significant questions
about the sport and its governance. The hearing therefore will also
examine the fact that horse racing lacks a central regulatory authority like
other sports leagues such as the National Football League and Major League
Baseball, and consequently has been very slow to address longstanding problems
plaguing the sport.
It’s nice to know that our Congress is concerned with “high profile” breakdowns. How do they feel, I wonder, about a mid-February breakdown at Aqueduct? Or one at Ellis Park? Or Calder? Why did it take a horse breaking down in the Derby for them to get concerned?
Kerry O’Neill wrote a piece for The Rail earlier this month, discussing the why regulatory power is vested in a fragmented system of individual state racing commissions.” Clear and informative, it’s worth a look.
The Blood-Horse lists other participants in the hearing; I can’t tell whether it’s a comprehensive or partial list. Given that Dutrow is one of only two trainers scheduled to appear, it’s hard to see this as anything but an opportunistic publicity grab by those supposed to represent us. I’ll be paying attention, and to be honest, I might even pay money to see Dutrow testify before Congress, but until proven otherwise, my official stance on these proceedings is “cynical.”
In less cynical racing news, I was pleased to see that today’s third at Belmont is a state-bred stakes races, the Papua. Papua is one of those state-breds who successfully knocked around New York tracks, as familiar and consistent as horses like Naughty New Yorker. He won the Hollie Hughes three consecutive years (’03, ’04, ’05) and placed in such other notable state-bred stakes as the John Morrissey, the General Douglas MacArthur, the Hudson, and the Fall Highweight. Pedigree Query tells me Papua was retired to stud in Virginia this year.
The most recent winner of the Hollie Hughes, Gold and Roses, another consistent New Yorker, runs in the Papua today, as do favored Stormin Normandy and Market Psychology.
Friday afternoon marks the return of twilight racing to Belmont Park. Post time is at 3:00; drink specials are offered from 4:00 – 8:00; you’ll find live music in the backyard, featuring the talents of our friend Ernie Munick, who kept the Belmont crowd entertained last Saturday. I love twilight racing, and will be out for several cards before racing heads upstate.