The hunt for the next drug test
As long as there has been racing, there have been those willing to take every available edge, however unscrupulous. Winning at any cost might be a sound and admirable business model, but regulations are necessary in every endeavor. And those willing to venture beyond the prescribed boundaries, the specific arena notwithstanding, are never dissuaded by the constraints imposed in the interest of the greater good. There is a ubiquitous minority that considers regulation no more than surmountable inconvenience.More than six decades ago, Tom Smith, whose résumé already included Seabiscuit, was slapped with a one-year suspension in New York for spraying an ephedrine solution into the nostrils of horses he trained for Elizabeth Arden. At the time, he was winning at a 40 percent clip. Things have not changed; they simply have become more so and far more sophisticated. In recent years, some of the current stars of the training profession -- those who have come to be called "super trainers" -- have served suspensions, some lengthy, for violations of various medication rules in a variety of jurisdictions. This is a cat-and-mouse game played on a treadmill that has no off switch. There is always the next drug. Andrew Cohen, in harnesslink.com, writes of the substance du jour:
When something like ITPP is introduced into the racing arena -- as is the case in every chemical flavor of the moment -- it is the work of the veterinary community, which operates in the shadows, hidden from public scrutiny.