02/20/2018 10:22AM

Macedonio: Positive tests and sickness


Sometimes I read or hear something somewhere and I have an instant visceral reaction. I’ll admit that 99% of the time it was watching Grey’s Anatomy, but not this time!

I can’t fully remember the conversation or who was in it, but it was about trainer Ron Burke’s recent TCO2 positive test at the Meadows. Burke quarantined his horse after the race to see if the results were based upon normal levels, and in that whole mess, I read that the level could be misleading if a horse is sick or dehydrated. That’s the kicker to me.

In my head, if a horse is so sick or dehydrated that it causes severe test levels, the trainer is still at fault for the simple fact that he raced a sick or dehydrated horse. You’re either negligent because you weren’t aware of your horse’s health or you willingly put a horse that wasn’t fit for racing on the track in a stressful position to cause more damage. Isn't that in the realm of animal abuse (I’m not talking about the sniffles or being thirsty)?

Horsemen, how many times in the paddock have you seen a horse after a race with yellow green snot pouring out of his nose? I used to see it all the time and it never even occurred to me that that was potentially animal abuse.

There are plenty of times in life where in your own head you just go, “hmmm, I never thought of it that way.”

One day, perhaps pretty soon, there will be a hammer of justice on animal abuse, and someone is going to go to jail because of it in horse racing for something that most horsemen don’t think of as abuse. The world is changing and there a lot more people outside of the industry who are generally sickened by the topic of animals being used for entertainment purposes and horse racing is under that umbrella.

At some point, all of these blood tests that are run will be used as evidence that someone knowingly raced a sick horse. If we don’t care more publicly about protecting our equine athletes, that hammer is coming for Harness Racing.

Oh yeah, since I know many bettors read this, shouldn’t you be demanding all horses be fit to compete? If a horse is scoped after a race, that should be public knowledge. Of all the things you have to handicap prior to a race, shouldn’t whether a horse is sick not be one of them?