Kentucky Derby won by a horse trained by a fellow who’s had numerous brushes with the authorities over ‘milkshaking’ in his home state of California (and elsewhere).
Milkshaking is the practise of giving horses a sodium bicarbonate ‘mix’ to negate some of the normal physical activities that would take place while a horse was running. It would have the effect of enhancing performance. It is also believed that it may be used as a mask for other drugs.
Not that we’re immune to such issues over here of course, trainer Matt Gingell was warned off for two years in 2009 for just such an offence. But drugs seems a much wider and more culturally difficult issue in the States than here (maybe I’m being naive?).
I’d be interested in Miss Woodford’s take on it if you’re looking in Miss W?
Like the Tour De France, every year now while I’m watching the Kentucky Derby (and the Breeder’s Cup for that matter) and every year a hot new US trainer arrives on the scene, I have that little voice in my head that’s wondering…
I wish Bodemeister had held on, that’s for sure. Not that I’m a particular fan of Baffert and Zayat, but at least they play by the rules.
American racing’s problems go beyond drugs-the sport is slowly dying, and these trainers are essentially vultures. The only way this will change is if trainers and owners are banned permanently from the sport for use of blatantly illegal substances. But since these trainers and owners have friends in very high places, that seems like a pipe dream.
Hopefully the recent New York Times expose is shocking some sense into people.
Also the NTRA is not a strong governing body-they cede control of drug policy to the states and individual tracks. If the NTRA had as much power as the BHA, we wouldn’t be having such issues.