I never got into this issue before; I was between web-sites at the time.

It has to do with NYRAs cutting off certain off-shore rebate shops and the constructing of detention barns.

These steps ostensibly were taken to satisfy the states monitor so the association could avoid prosecution and show they were good, upstanding citizens.

But I always felt this had more to do with trotting out dogs and ponies than anything resembling real reform.

I dont believe what lawmakers, the New York Times, the Albany Times Union--or any reputable newspaper for that matter--say regarding these two issues or why the actions taken by the NYRA were necessary.

To stop money laundering? Deter organized crime?


This all began because unscrupulous trainer with questionable ties was caught putting over a favorite,an odds-on favorite, at Aqueduct and bet that horse off-shore.

When the story broke, the authorities acted as if they just caught the entire Corleone family. But organized crime media stories sell papers and help get politicians elected.

Does anyone care that one of the most reputable and successful off-shore rebate shops, RGS, one that caters to some of the games largest bettors, pays higher fees than a majority of simulcast outlets? And that their handle is co-mingled with track pools?

So then why did the bankrupt NYRA hurt their own business and the taxpayers of New York State by cutting off RGS among others? For appearances sake?

Everyone knows that anytime some group in this country declares a war on anything like, say, The War On Drugs, it has failed for a lack of execution, commitment and funding.

The detention barn as a deterrent to cheaters? Sounds good. Sounds like a reasonable idea. But drug suspensions, many involving the biggest names in the game, keep getting meted out in New York. Why?

The term juice remains as relevant in New York racing circles as discussions involving Barry Bonds assault on Hank Aarons home run record are in every American city outside San Francisco.

Of course, drugs are a huge problem, in every strata of society. But detention barns on NYRAs backstretch? Talking points, little more.

When well meaning lovers of thoroughbred racing in Saratoga wonder why the racing office cards so many races for New York-breds, maybe they should look at the detention barn for the declining number of shippers.

Yes, VLT-infused purses elsewhere makes shipping to Saratoga unnecessary for many outfits. But so does the extreme and costly inconvenience of shipping into the detention barn.

John Sherriffs, trainer of the late developing Tiago, cited the detention barn and not the presence of Street Sense and Curlin as the reason hes seriously considering remaining in California to run against older horses in the Pacific Classic instead of the Travers.

New York, and every racing jurisdiction in the country, has a responsibility to increase vigilance if they truly want to deter the use of illegal drugs via use of the latest technologies or funding for needed testing research.

Solutions such as the barring of a handful of bet takers and the use of detention barns may satisfy headline writers and politicians. But they accomplish little else except to inconvenience the customers and horsemen they purport to help.