Thursday, May 04, 2006

"He's got a good vet"

Over the past 3 years, my job has given me the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with trainers, jockeys, owners, and breeding farms. I'm not talking about Nick Zito and Lanes End, but more of the "B" and "C" class players in the industry. Over this time I have heard the term "He's got a good vet" about a dozen times. You usually hear this phrase after the following scenario.

Trainer runs horse in $25K Maiden Special, and comes in 8th
Next race he runs in $15K Claiming race, and comes in 8th
Next race he runs in $7,500 Claiming race, and comes in 4th
Next race he wins $35,000 Maiden Special
Next race he runs in $15K claiming race, comes in 8th, BUT IS CLAIMED
The Horse never runs as good as he did in the $35K win

"Nice win for Trainer X, won the big race, and then had the horse claimed.....He's got a good vet"

I thought that this meant that the horse was under better care, or that he worked through the bucked shins. It was not until today that I found out the truth. Initially, I was shocked to hear that trainers were giving these horses "performance enhancing drugs". Then I started to think.....aaah "He has a good vet". I started to wonder how many horses are getting these "legal" cocktails. I was told that all the drugs they give the horses are legal, but not necessarily in the best interest of the horse. Sometimes, the horses do so much damage to themselves while running "pain and fatigue free", that they can never return to full health.

Saying "He's got a good vet" is like saying that Barry Bonds has a good nutritionist.

1 comment:

kentucky joe said...

Interesting post. Just as a coincindence, this morning I was doing some computer work for a local Pinhooker who commented about the seamier side of the sport of kings. Not something I really wanted to hear about on the eve of the Oaks and Derby but really what aspect of life is pristine and untouched by those that will sacrifice moral values for the sake of a buck or a win? Probably the fatal flaw of human nature and our imperfection. I just like to think that that is the exception rather than the rule.....hopefully my point of view is not too naive...


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