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View Full Version : Improvements you have see in TB racing



LE
Oct. 30, 2007, 01:43 PM
Since the topic of GeorgeWashington's accident came up, I'd love to hear from those who work at the track to let us all know of the improvements you have seen over the years.

We've seen so much advancement to all other equine sports--better protective gear for both horses and riders---I'd love to get your input on the changes for the better for the horses(and jockey's)

Let's start a positive thread that people can learn from and realize TB racing isn't terrible---don't let a few bad apples spoil the orchard(and a few bad posters for that matter ;) )

Arcadien
Oct. 30, 2007, 03:30 PM
All I can say is -

ERIN HELP!!!! She/he's starting another one...

Lora
Oct. 30, 2007, 03:43 PM
What is wrong with her question?

Arcadien
Oct. 30, 2007, 03:50 PM
Lora, taken in context with what he/she has written so far about GW, it is clearly just another vehicle to allow him/her to point out how evil racing is and dispute anyone who tries to disagree.

If the objective of this thread was truly to seek out ways to improve racing I'd be all for it, but the odds of that being the case are to me nil to nada.

YOMV,
Arcadien

Lora
Oct. 30, 2007, 04:00 PM
Well he/she seems to be banned (at least for a while).

So does anyone have any idea on how to improve racing?

Drvmb1ggl3
Oct. 30, 2007, 04:25 PM
Well he/she seems to be banned (at least for a while).

So does anyone have any idea on how to improve racing?

What I would personally find helpful would be if the people jumping up and down screaming and saying this and that need to be changed would actually take some time to actually learn about racing first.

It really hard to take anyone seriously if they have no involvement or interest in the sport, yet get on their soapbox and pontificate to the world how it should be.

As uneducated as LE is about racing, s/he is in no position to be making suggestions.

Lora
Oct. 30, 2007, 04:46 PM
I would like to see all drugs banned - including lasix.

Madeline
Oct. 30, 2007, 07:51 PM
And all toe grabs.

SteeleRdr
Oct. 30, 2007, 08:15 PM
Lora- you want to back up your contention of why you want all drugs, including lasix, banned?

Being a racing buff myself, and although I consider myself fairly well informed, I had never thought much about toe grabs, etc, until it was mentioned a TON at the BC this weekend. I had seen them on shoes of horses I have gotten from the track, but never paid a whole lot of attention.

I know that in 'chasing toe grabs, studs, etc are NOT allowed.

DLee
Oct. 30, 2007, 08:17 PM
I know the jury is still out, but I feel the synthetic surface is an improvement.

Madeline
Oct. 30, 2007, 08:28 PM
I know that in 'chasing toe grabs, studs, etc are NOT allowed.

Actually, I believe that toe grabs are banned in all racing venues in Virginia. And apparently, the racing officials are serious about enforcing it.

Go Virginia.

SteeleRdr
Oct. 30, 2007, 08:35 PM
Thank you for that tidbit Madeline. I was unaware it applied to all of VA.

Last Shot
Oct. 30, 2007, 11:04 PM
I do not see anything in regards to the OP trying to critisize racing. I think this is a positive thread---HAVE any of you seen changes to make it safer for horses?

People here seem to have a problem with others outside of what is being posted here. That is a shame. I have been a long time lurker and now am nervous in posting questions.

Lora
Oct. 31, 2007, 09:08 AM
[QUOTE=SteeleRdr;2771167]Lora- you want to back up your contention of why you want all drugs, including lasix, banned?


If the horse is healthy why would he/she need any drugs in his system to race? In my opinion, any type of drugs even legal ones are masking problems.

SteeleRdr
Oct. 31, 2007, 09:50 AM
I can just speak for the one trainer I've worked for in 'chasing, but most every horse we had ran on Lasix. Minus one who did not because he ran better when he wasn't one it.

It was mostly used as a preventative measure. Not really to mask any problems. Only had one horse that did bleed, and he ran on more than just Lasix, again as a preventative measure. The horse was retired after 2 seasons of 'chasing and became a foxhunter.

Maybe one of the trainer's on here (Laurierace?) can chime in on the use.

Barnfairy
Oct. 31, 2007, 01:26 PM
Well things at Suffolk have been a lot more on the up & up since Whitey Bulger (http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/james_whitey_bulger/) skipped town, and purses there were a little higher this season than the last few...but I guess those aren't the kinds of improvements you're asking about. ;) :lol:

There have been many improvements from a horse welfare perspective. Understand, however, that horse sports, racing especially, are steeped in tradition so change is slooow. Nobody wants to be the one who shows up to the funeral in red. Sometimes awareness is a big step forward.

Drugs in themselves aren't bad, it is the people who misuse them who must be held accountable. Biancone's relative slap on the wrist (http://www.bloodhorse.com/articleindex/article.asp?id=41413) was a joke IMO, but at least we are seeing "tighter regulations" (http://www.bloodhorse.com/articleindex/article.asp?id=41742) on cobra venom as a result.

There has been a crack down on milkshakes (http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/horse-health/2004/January/10/Veterinary-Topics-Milkshakes-leave-a-bad-taste.aspx).

U Penn has developed a test to detect the presence of EPO in horses, but to be effective in preventing blood doping, it would require out-of-competition testing (http://www.bloodhorse.com/articleindex/article.asp?id=41233).

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is helping to fund a research project planned in November to study the effectiveness of furosemide (lasix) (http://www.thehorse.com/viewarticle.aspx?ID=10619&source=rss).

Earlier this year the California Horse Racing Board made a move to ban long toe grabs, but it was voted down. Keeping in mind that awareness is a step towards change, the Grayson-Jockey Club Foundation's September 07 newsletter (http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/newsimages/sept_07_web.pdf) featured hoof care and discussed how toe grabs present a greater risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Hopefully this planted a seed or two.

Let us not forget the advent of Fontana Safety Rail, designed with a slant to help prevent or lessen the injuries suffered by horse or jockey in a spill like the one Angel Cordero had in 1992 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE7DD143AF935A15752C0A9649582 60).

Improvements I have seen locally: I was not sad to see Northhampton close. The intimate atmosphere was fun for bettors, but that bullring was murder on horses already too sore to be competitive elsewhere.

Thanks to the efforts of groups like CANTER (http://www.canterusa.org/), more owners and trainers are receptive to the idea of letting bottom level horses move on to second careers rather than "disposing" of them otherwise.

Glimmerglass
Oct. 31, 2007, 01:48 PM
Well things at Suffolk have been a lot more on the up & up since Whitey Bulger (http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/james_whitey_bulger/) skipped town ...

Not to hijack, but the good thing is that after all of the (private) investigating I did Whitey didn't have a hand in the Isabella Stewart Gardner. Now you never can be sure if Myles Connor (http://www.mylesconnor.com/) doesn't know where the Vermeer, Rembrandt, et al are today .... I mean the guy filtched THE royal wax seal from the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter!

Back to your regularly scheduled discussion on the improvements to racing ....

johnnysauntie
Oct. 31, 2007, 01:49 PM
Thanks to the efforts of groups like CANTER (http://www.canterusa.org/), more owners and trainers are receptive to the idea of letting bottom level horses move on to second careers rather than "disposing" of them otherwise.

Ditto everything Barnfairy said in an excellent post, and emphasis in particular on the last point. I also like CDI (Churchill Downs Inc.) fledgling "Greener Pastures (http://www.churchilldownsincorporated.com/our_commitment/green_pastures_program/generic_01162006.html)" program that encourages trainers to retire horses sound.

Elevating the value of the OTTB above meat price to give trainers real incentive to retire them sound is one of Wood End's key missions. We'll let you know how it goes ... (we're pushing a lot of water up hill right now.)

Tucked_Away
Oct. 31, 2007, 02:29 PM
And all toe grabs.

I've heard of the toe grab issue, but I'm not familiar with the grabs themselves. Could someone give me a quick explanation of what they're used for in the first place?

jengersnap
Oct. 31, 2007, 02:47 PM
We want our horses off Lasix. It's a PITA and I fully agree with my husbands assessment that it does very little for the vast majority of horses. In fact, those of ours on it know it's "race day" when the needles come around and that can hype them up.

As for toe grabs, I hate them personally, but I do prefer rims. To have neither on a dirt surface is like asking an olympic runner to wear sandals instead of athletic shoes. Good luck getting most trainers to go with that concept. I fully understand the added strain a toe grab puts on the tendon. The rim gives an equal pull across the entire surface of the hoof. My horses are shod with a no-vibe (greatly reduces the concussion of the ground on the structure of the hoof and leg) low toe grab or a rim. Much preferred is the rim, but the farriers do not always have them up here for some reason. Of course, grass up here does not allow any grabbing surface and rightly so. I also think the way a horse grabs the synthetic surfaces should be studied in terms of shoeing. I've yet to hear any such studies being performed though.

As many have mentioned, it is an industry of old traditions and slow changes, but there are changes. Portions of purses and special track fundraisers for both thoroughbred and standardbred retirement organizations are held at a large majority of tracks. Owners are becoming aware of the options beyond the auction houses for their horses after their racing careers. Stringent drug testing and vet inspection pre and post racing are occuring regularly, commission vets are eyeing non-performers and singling out trainers for it, some breeders are following their horses through their careers and will offer homes for the ones in danger, and with the modern age of technology I'd dare say racing is even more under the public eye then ever before. Lots of cameras, lots of coverage, lots of eyes on the horses, and no sweeping trajedy under the rug.

Next year we are seriously considering training on our farm and shipping in for the races. It's certainly not that common, but the horses are more relaxed at home and in the fields, and we have the property to train them here, so it might work for us. Many standardbreds have that luxury, and I think it's part of why many of that breed shift gears to non-racing homes easier then TBs.

Xctrygirl
Oct. 31, 2007, 02:53 PM
Toe Grabs are allowed at Colonial Downs in Va. Ideally not on the turf course but I know of many many horses that run with shoes showing turndowns and grabs at Colonial and then came up to run on the ruf at Del. and were scratched due to the shoes not being queens plates (Flat turf shoes with no accutrements)

~Emily

jengersnap
Oct. 31, 2007, 02:55 PM
I've heard of the toe grab issue, but I'm not familiar with the grabs themselves. Could someone give me a quick explanation of what they're used for in the first place?

Traction. It's the same as tread on your Nikes.

Because of where a toe grab is situated, the force of the hoof striking the ground directly exerts more strain on the suspensory ligament:

http://www.centaurforge.com/images/107123.jpg

This site has a photo of several types of racing plates. I like the rim that has the continual ridge along the entire outer part of the shoe, not the one shown here:

http://www.stcroixforge.com/products/racingplates/racingplates.html

Exceller_Fund
Oct. 31, 2007, 04:04 PM
Ditto everything Barnfairy said in an excellent post, and emphasis in particular on the last point. I also like CDI (Churchill Downs Inc.) fledgling "Greener Pastures (http://www.churchilldownsincorporated.com/our_commitment/green_pastures_program/generic_01162006.html)" program that encourages trainers to retire horses sound.

Elevating the value of the OTTB above meat price to give trainers real incentive to retire them sound is one of Wood End's key missions. We'll let you know how it goes ... (we're pushing a lot of water up hill right now.)


Thank you for the information! Glad to see that Phantom is doing well and it is encouraging to see more and more official recognition of the need to find ways to transition some of these horses into new careers or retirement.

Your comment about pushing water up hill brought a wry smile to my day - I know the feeling well!

LyndaPellitteri31
Nov. 1, 2007, 12:59 AM
I would say toe grabs, all drugs, dirt, excessive whipping, Patrick Biancone, and the Long-toe/Low-heels. That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

Pronzini
Nov. 1, 2007, 09:18 AM
I would say toe grabs, all drugs, dirt, excessive whipping, Patrick Biancone, and the Long-toe/Low-heels. That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

Your inclusion of Biancone brings an involuntary smile to my face. Biancone runs (ran now) horses pretty light on medications--at least traditional allowed medications--and racing forums everywhere thought he was a great guy because he generally didn't use Lasix and often didn't run on Bute and he trained major racehorses for rich guys who usually didn't run in those ugly claiming races. Of course he was running out of continents for real violations and when some of us pointed that out on forums, well let's just say we were shunned :)

There's obviously something visceral about snake venom. While all of this was brewing this past summer, a friend of mine asked a well known BC winning trainer his thoughts about the Biancone situation. His response has stayed with me. He said trainers like Biancone who work for the richest most successful people and stables in the world and train expensive stock are under constant pressure to deliver on the race track and in the sales rings. Their purchases are scrutinized and evaluated, their win percentage is mulled over and they need to win the big races or they are through and these kind of owners are a little short on patience. That doesn't excuse it if it happened (and Biancone still denies it) but he certainly understood why it happened if it happened.

Is it the fact that its snake venom that is making people more upset than usual with Biancone? If mepivicaine was found in one of Biancone's cabinets, which has a similar purpose, would we get the same reaction to the situation?

Texarkana
Nov. 1, 2007, 09:27 AM
Is it the fact that its snake venom that is making people more upset than usual with Biancone? If mepivicaine was found in one of Biancone's cabinets, which has a similar purpose, would we get the same reaction to the situation?

I think you have made some very good points, especially about the about the snake venom.

Who has had horses test for mepivacaine in the past couple years? Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, Jeff Mullins, Rick Dutrow... just to name a few.

To loosely quote the great Ray Wylie Hubbard: "Snake [Venom], it just sounds nasty!" :lol:

Lora
Nov. 1, 2007, 09:37 AM
I think you have made some very good points, especially about the about the snake venom.

Who has had horses test for mepivicaine in the past couple years? Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, Jeff Mullins, Rick Dutrow... just to name a few.

To loosely quote the great Ray Wylie Hubbard: "Snake [Venom], it just sounds nasty!" :lol:



What is mepivicaine?

Texarkana
Nov. 1, 2007, 09:43 AM
What is mepivicaine?

Also known as carbocaine... it's a local anaesthetic, or numbing agent. It's a banned substance before every race. Pretty much does the same thing as the snake venom is supposed to do, although it's more accepted western medicine version of it.

canyonoak
Nov. 1, 2007, 09:46 AM
For me, snake venom will be associated forever in my mind with the controversy over the death of Wild Eyed & Wicked, the saddlebred champion who was put to sleep because of mis-use of snake venom.

As for racing...I think it is grudgingly being pulled into the 21st century. Without doubt, all horse owners benefit from the money poured into research--and most of that money comes because of racing, the only horse sport that can truly be classified as a worldwide business.

The rest of us would not have nearly the medicine cabinet or knowledge if it was not for racing.

I also applaud the growing movement to see racehorses as athletes who deserve a life after their competition time is over. I recognize the economic costs, but am happy owners are starting to accept repsonsibility, along with the rest of the racing world.

as for George Washgington--he died doing what he loved best. A better end than a lot of alternatives, whether human or horse.

SleepyFox
Nov. 1, 2007, 10:09 AM
Is it the fact that its snake venom that is making people more upset than usual with Biancone?

I think so. The term conjures images of PB sending his vet to a witch doctor, maybe sacrificing the barn goat in some Santerian ritual.... well, maybe I'm going a little too far here :lol:, but seriously, snake venom just sounds bad.

Good things... more emphasis on safety for both horses and riders, a move toward uniform medication rules, more discussion regarding the merits of Lasix...

LyndaPellitteri31
Nov. 1, 2007, 12:26 PM
Biancone runs (ran now) horses pretty light on medications--at least traditional allowed medications..... Of course he was running out of continents for real violations and when some of us pointed that out on forums, well let's just say we were shunned :)

WOW, I didn't know that! So he mainly specializes in illegal drugs then. I knew he had been banned in other countries, but I didn't know that little bit.

While all of this was brewing this past summer, a friend of mine asked a well known BC winning trainer his thoughts about the Biancone situation. His response has stayed with me. He said trainers like Biancone who work for the richest most successful people and stables in the world and train expensive stock are under constant pressure to deliver on the race track and in the sales rings.

I do think the owners should have suffered something for this. It's not always just the trainers

Is it the fact that its snake venom that is making people more upset than usual with Biancone? If mepivicaine was found in one of Biancone's cabinets, which has a similar purpose, would we get the same reaction to the situation?

I didn't realize about mepivicaine. It doesn't sound as bad LOL. I read below that several high profile trainers have used that and gotten caught. It should be the same penalty as the snake venom!!

Texarkana
Nov. 1, 2007, 02:57 PM
I didn't realize about mepivicaine. It doesn't sound as bad LOL. I read below that several high profile trainers have used that and gotten caught. It should be the same penalty as the snake venom!!

Well, there is a biggie difference between mepivacaine and snake venom. Snake venom is a banned substance not even allowed on track property. Mepivacaine is a prescription drug that has specific veterinary purposes-- for example, blocking a joint for a lameness exam. It is perfectly legal to have a bottle of mepivacaine sitting in a cabinet in your barn if it was prescribed to you. It's just illegal for mepivacaine to be in a horse's system at race time.

While the intent for using both those products is probably going to be the same (masking pain), obviously you're going to have a lot less of a penalty for a horse merely testing positive for mepivacaine after a race as opposed to having a banned substance found in your possession.

But back to improvements! I agree that being in the public eye is definitely an improvement. Things like TVG, HRTV, the interent... there's no better way to enforce the rules than public scrutiny. Every day it gets harder and harder to sweep things under the carpet.