THERE is a lot fallacious with racing within the UK, be it dreadful prize-money, bullying scandals or incompetent management.
However the excellent news is, if we’re ever feeling down concerning the state of this nice recreation of ours, we are able to console ourselves with a look throughout the pond.
2Bob Baffert faces a disciplinary listening to later this monthCredit: ReutersYes, our points are small fry in contrast to people who have plagued American racing for years.
I’m nicely conscious that it’s fairly area of interest to be a US racing fan, and the one time you’ll examine it within the British press is when us journos head off on the gravy prepare to the Breeders’ Cup.
However there have been some fairly unbelievable tales tumbling out of the States of late, some that I’ve to share.
First a little bit of background – I’ll try to preserve this quick and candy.
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Bob Baffert is among the most well-known and recognisable trainers on the earth. He has gained practically £250 million in prize-money and was inducted into their Corridor of Fame in 2009.
However removed from serving to construct the game’s fame, Bob has gone at it with a wrecking ball lately.
He has had a number of runners – together with Grade 1 winners – fail drug assessments. They embody Medina Spirit, who examined optimistic for steroids after successful the Kentucky Derby final Might.
He was banned from having runners in Kentucky and New York, however as a result of every state has its personal guidelines he was allowed to proceed racing his horses in California, the place his yards are based mostly.
To place that into context, it is like John Gosden having quite a few doping breaches, his runners being banned at Epsom and Newmarket however allowed to compete elsewhere. It’s insane.
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Since 2000, Baffert’s horses have died on the highest charge of any coach within the nation. Medina Spirit added to these sorry statistics when struggling a suspected coronary heart assault final month.
The explanation Baffert is within the information once more is as a result of he has a disciplinary listening to developing on January 24, and earlier this week recent fees have been filed in opposition to him.
They embody two additional doping circumstances, and the invention of an unlocked cupboard at his premises with 25 unlabelled, mysterious drugs inside. It does not look good for Bob.
In a weird twist to the unhappy Medina Spirit story, Jeff Blea, the highest vet in Californian racing, had his licence suspended on Monday.
He was because of conduct the investigation into Medina Spirit’s demise – but it surely’s since emerged that he has been accused of drug breaches of his personal.
2Medina Spirit suffered a suspected coronary heart assault final monthCredit: ReutersThis comes simply days after disgraced coach Jorge Navarro was sentenced to FIVE years in jail after an FBI investigation uncovered an enormous doping scheme.
One other vet, Kristian Rhein, was jailed for 3 years this week for his half in one other doping scandal involving former coach Jason Servis.
Like some form of nineteenth century freak present, it isn’t very nice viewing however I can not take my eyes off it.
There may be meant to be some mild on the finish of the tunnel within the US, with a brand new anti-doping company set to be launched in July.
However final month, infighting and disagreements on the high of those newly-formed regulators meant negotiations on how greatest to deal with the sports activities issues floor to a halt.
It’s no exaggeration to state that the way forward for racing in America is beneath menace – the stakes have by no means been larger.
They are saying the whole lot is greater and higher within the US – that goes for his or her scandals, too.
Goodbye, January blues
LET’S face it, January is generally essentially the most boring month within the racing calendar.
However worry not, there may be really some thrilling stuff to sit up for this time round.
That is thanks largely to the inaugural Winter Million at Lingfield, a brand new three-day assembly with – you guessed it – 1,000,000 quid up for grabs.
The fixture kicks off on Friday 21 January with a £345,000 card, together with a brand new two-mile handicap hurdle.
There’s a invaluable all-weather Flat card the next day, that includes the primary ever Winter Oaks.
And it’s rounded off on Sunday with the ‘Winter Million Steeple Chase’ over 2m6f and value a tasty £150,000.
Ready Patiently was the primary high-profile horse confirmed as an meant runner in that race this week, and lots extra will observe within the coming days.
With the Racing League additionally set to return in a brand new and improved format this summer season, you need to tip your cap to a few of the innovators who’re making an attempt their greatest to clean up the stale intervals of the calendar.
The Winter Million is a cracking innovation and it’ll assist get us by this dreadful month earlier than Pageant Trials Day on January 29. Deliver it on.
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