Monday, July 2, 2012

Horseracing's New Face of Evil

Phyllomedusa Sauvagei

Why is this frog smiling? Because he is the candyman of South America. He secretes an opiode forty times more powerful than morphine, which was supposed to help him ward off the bad guys. But not the bad guys of horse racing. You may be wondering, as this reporter did, just how these trainers in Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma were smuggling this small South American frog (the Waxy Monkey Tree Frog -- named by someone who clearly enjoys demorphin) onto racetracks and getting their horses to surreptitously lick its back shortly before a race. Maybe you, like this reporter, pictured this little frog peeking out of the top pocket of a trainer's overalls. But this is not how it happens. A synthetic version was created, one that eluded tests ... until recently when 30 positives blipped in a Denver lab. The opiode not only numbs any pain or soreness the horse may feel but also excites him, makes him ready to run.

It's no surprise to see this opiode appeared in tests coming out of the cradle of iniquity of racing (New Mexican quarter horse tracks), but it's also shown up in thoroughbred tests as well. Luckily none of the 30 positives broke down, but many took prize money. And as the shrewd and talented Chicago trainer Christine Janks pointed out on Paulick's site, this is fraud. And it should be penalized criminally. But not only is this fraud, this is animal endangerment, gross and egregious.

Few would argue anyone caught should be removed from the sport, but it looks like fines is the worst jurisdictions can or are willing to do right now.