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Thursday, April 19, 2012


Bring on Your Wrecking Ball?


This past Monday I experienced Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the second time in my life. He told all of us in lovely Alllllbany, "Prepare to be transformed!" And we were for three glorious hours as he opened with possibly the most fitting song in his entire catalog: Badlands.

If my memory serves me right his next song was "Wrecking Ball".

Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
C'mon and take your best shot
Let me see what you've got
Bring on your wrecking ball


That sphere of destruction swung on a tensile string bludgeoning the side of buildings, stadiums, and industry. Kentucky seems to be swinging that wrecking ball directly at itself.
Now when all this steel and these stories, they drift away to rust
And all our youth and beauty, it's been given to the dust
And your game has been decided, and you're burning the down the clock
And all of our little victories and glories, have turned into parking lots


On the surface, the proposed Lasix ban, that old anit-bleeder med, seems prudent. Get the athletes off this medicine, let the bleeders find refuge elsewhere, the non-bleeding winners play on, and there will be generations of horses to come who will bleed less. The idea works only if every other racing jurisdiction adopts it too. Jennie Rees of the Courier-Journal paints a bad picture for Kentucky racing, the Palace of the Sport of Kings, if you will.

"The ultimate outcome of Kentucky becoming the first jurisdiction to repeal Lasix would not be universal trumpeting about how great and courageous the commonwealth’s racing regulators are," she writes. "Instead, it would result in the further exodus of horses to other jurisdictions and heads shaking everywhere by those grounded in reality."

It's as if Pennsylvania (slots), Indiana (slots), West Virginia (slots), and Ohio (possibly slots) are lobbying to get this bill passed so that they can benefit from said exodus.

A commenter on Bill Shanklin's Horse Racing Business Blog said, "Clean up racing and its image and start in my Old Ky. Home." I merely replied with Ms. Rees's column. It's not that simple. The Kentucky Derby could turn into a blood bath with horses who use Lasix in every other state they train and race in, then come to Kentucky and have what looks like a collective brain aneurism at the finish line.

I'd love to see horses race without chemistry. But if Kentucky is hoping other states will follow suit, I think they are greatly mistaken and greatly underestimate other states' desire to survive even at the cost of the Bluegrass State.

Hard times come, hard times go
And hard times come, hard times go
Hard times come, hard times to
Yeah just to come again


Bring on that wrecking ball.

Brendan O'Meara tweets.

Written by Brendan O'Meara

Comments (4)

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