OP/ED Authors:

Op/Ed

Op/Ed: Lasix: Why The Effinex Team Just Said Yes

The 2014 GI Wood Memorial was approaching and Dr. Russell Cohen not only wanted to win the race with Effinex (Mineshaft)--he wanted to make a statement. Cohen is a veterinarian who practices at the NYRA tracks, is a breeder and manages Tri-Bone Stables for his mother, Bernice, and he’s an outspoken hay, oats and water advocate. He was determined to succeed without any drugs, particularly Lasix, and prove that it could be done. "That horse is probably 10 Beyer points below the top group of 3-year-olds and putting him on...

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OP/ED: Is This Sire the Next Kodiac?

No need to stop the press, there is no secret being revealed when it is stated that Kodiac (GB) (Danehill) is one of the hottest commercial sires in Europe right now. In the last two years in particular, he has really come to the fore and his best days are very much ahead of him, with him having covered 232 mares at a fee of €25,000 in 2015 and set to stand for a career-high of €45,000 in 2016. Inevitably, such a rise in nomination fee will put him out...

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Let’s Hear It For the Old Guys

We’ve all seen the statistics. We’ve studied them, debated them, and have our theories on them. Thoroughbreds make fewer starts today than in decades past. They make far fewer starts; noticeably fewer starts; alarmingly fewer starts. All of which makes it well worth noting the results of North America’s graded stakes on Oct. 3, a huge day of prep races for the Oct. 30-31 Breeders’ Cup. Hail the geldings; hail the "old" mares. There were 10 graded stakes that day for 3-year-olds an up, three restricted to fillies and mares....

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Racing Is Not Delivering What the Younger Demographic Craves

I know what you're saying: Oh boy, another column about young people and racing. 'They have short attention spans, so we need to give them action, like slot machines do.' 'They like concerts and bands, and night clubs, so we have to change the on-track experience to meet these needs.' 'Once we get them in the building, they will get the "bug" just like we did when we were their age.' I promise you won't read anything like the above in the following as a solution. Scouts honor. "Millennials" is...

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Could Augur Shift More than the Betting Paradigm?

On Dec. 25, a San Francisco non-profit company named Augur is scheduled to roll out a beta version of something it calls a "decentralized prediction market platform." The Christmas holiday launch will go practically unnoticed by anyone in the racing industry, and Augur is very likely to remain under the sport's radar for months or even a year or two after its unveiling. That would be a mistake, because the repercussions of Augur's initial public testing could rock horse racing's economic model as we know it. My bet is that...

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Lasix Clouding Drug Issue

Ten years ago, in an Op-Ed written for The Blood-Horse, I strongly suggested that only by installing USADA to oversee drugs in American racing could our game hope to restore its lost credibility as a sport played on a level playing field, thereby giving our industry its best chance to regain alienated horseplayers and a dwindling fan base because of a public perception that racing was stained by rampant drug use. Sadly, the same dynamics that were in play in October of 2004 are exactly the ones that continue to...

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Corey Johnsen Op/Ed: My Trip to Colombia

Last week, I made a presentation on the Dynamics of the Horse Industry in the United States to a group of horsemen at the Equine Congress in Bogota, Colombia. It was sponsored by UNAGA, a division of the Department of Agriculture which oversees the cattle, horse and goat industries in Colombia. The Equine Congress was part of the Agroexpo, a major agricultural event in Bogota which resembled a state fair in America with attendance of more than 10,000 each day. Colombia is a country with a human population of 48...

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USADA is Scary
USADA is Scary

This week, Federal legislation–the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 (THIA)--was introduced by a coalition of industry groups headed by The Jockey Club that, if enacted by Congress, will install USADA as the entity to oversee drug policy, testing and enforcement in Thoroughbred racing. The prospect of having USADA in charge of drugs, both legal and illegal, scares the hell out of some industry insiders. I humbly submit that the independent nature of USADA is the main reason for the fright, because if USADA is named to oversee drugs, nobody...

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Dean Towers Op/Ed: Converting the New Viewer and Fan

Sunday's Women's World Cup soccer final between the United States and Japan was a roaring success. 25.4 million people watched the event, making it the 5th most (non-NFL) watched sporting event in 2015. The game's rating was up 88% from the same match-up on ESPN in 2011 and up 41% from United States-China on ABC in 1999, the last two times the U.S. made the final. I must admit I was a little floored, so I immediately began looking for some reason for this large TV rating. But after doing...

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Op/Ed: The Time for Change is Now

by Hal Handel Over the course of the past 40 years, I have seen the sport of Thoroughbred racing encounter significant challenges and I've witnessed them from a couple of different perspectives. As a deputy attorney general in New Jersey in 1975-77, I supervised the Tony Ciulla race-fixing case. (For those of you too young to remember, Ciulla admitted to fixing races at a host of tracks, primarily in New England, New York and the Mid-Atlantic region, between 1972 and 1975. Ciulla became a state’s witness and eventually was resettled...

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