OPINION: Cleaning Out the Ole’ Muck Pit…Scoops For Paulick, Irwin, WHOA, PETA

(Rudolphe Brisset / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Every so often, we will be addressing a few things: comments, decisions, people, whatever that – for one reason or another – should be tossed into the literary “muck pit.”

It is in the spirit of cleanliness, recycling, and protecting the environment that we offer this service of “addressing the muck” – free of charge. After all, someone has to do it, right?

And, it didn’t take long for us to find a few pounds of, well, manure.

Here is a look at our 17th Edition”:

Paulick Finally Woke Up & Reports on Brisset Ruling; Still Waiting on Irwin, WHOA

On July 11, “The Pressbox” broke the story that young trainer Rolophe Brisset had a horse test positive and the filly — Talk Veuve to Me — was subsequently disqualified from a win and the winning purse after capturing an allowance race conducted at Keeneland on April 11.

We were the first to report that the filly — who happened to win the Indiana Oaks a year ago — tested positive for an aminocaproic acid, an anti-bleeding medication that is not permitted to be administered on race day. Additionally, no horse is permitted to run on race day with the drug in their system.

We were the first to make mention that while it was Brisset’s first violation for running a horse on a prohibitive substance, that the trainer had previously worked for the infamous Patrick Biacone, who has a well-documented history of running afoul of racing rules and drug prohibitions in the past.

You see, it was Biancone, who was the subject of an investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority in 2007 , after Cobra venom was discovered in his tack room. That investigation ultimately ended with a suspension of Biancone’s trainer’s license for nearly 10 years in Kentucky.

We were the first to report that Brisset’s filly that tested positive, Talk Veuve To Me, is owned in part by Barry Irwin and his Team Valor racing stable.

That’s the same Barry Irwin, mind you, who has a long history of supporting the “Paulick Report,” and its’ editor, Ray Paulick. For quite some time, Irwin and his Team Valor have been an active advertiser on the social media site. And, for quite some time, as well, Irwin and his Team Valor have been outspoken critics of therapeutic race day medications like Lasix.

Additionally, Irwin is listed as one of the primary supporters of the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA).

WHOA, on its own website, has a subtitle that reads: “Stop Drugs in Racing.” And, Paulick has long been an open advocate for WHOA.

So, for three long days, after “The Pressbox” broke the news, the “Paulick Report” remained silent.

We checked every day.

Nothing.

We checked every night.

Nothing.

Finally, only after several people on Twitter and other social media accounts started to question the absence of the story on some of the sport’s most recognized news sites, “The Paulick Report” finally posted a story.

Today.

Finally.

Three days later.

Not in the major headlines, mind you.

Not in a story written by one of the site’s writers, mind you.

Certainly not in any words penned by Ray Paulick, who drove to Pennsylvania and spent days there tracking drug violations when that news fit neatly into his prescribed, predisposed positions and opinions.

Not any words from Paulick, who has spent many an hour covering drug violations and penalties imposed from nearly every racing jurisdiction known to man kind.

Not any words from Paulick, who has attempted to point out — ad nauseam, mind you — the discrepancies and inconsistencies of how state regulatory bodies have treated and penalized these same issues from Coast to Coast.

No.

Hell no.

It was a staff report that showed up at 1:29 p.m. today.

That is nearly 3 days after we first reported it.

That, my friends, is despicable.

And, it speaks volumes as to the credibility of the news organizations that attempt to frame the entire arguments around some of the sport’s most important and critical issues.

Never mind that “The Pressbox,” was the forum that first made this story public. Truly, that doesn’t matter. Not even a little bit.

And, really, never mind that this young trainer got his first positive. Mistakes can be made. Mistakes happen. Should Rudolphe be suspended? I wouldn’t have recommended that action. Not on the first offense. But Rudolphe should take note. He should do better. After all, he is a former assistant to a trainer that was suspended in Kentucky for 10 years for possessing Cobra venom in his barn, for God’s sake.

But mind very much that Barry Irwin — a self-anointed purist who wishes to dictate policies about race day medications for the entire industry and all of the sport; for how you and I race our horses; and a disciple of the theory “do what I say; not what I do” theories of living — has not made a single public statement about this issue.

No guts? No glory, Barry.

Fess up, man. He’s your trainer. She’s your horse.

Where’s you public stance now?

Mind very much that one of Irwin’s own horses — a Graded Stakes-winning filly, mind you — has tested positive for a prohibitive drug that is used to treat and help stop bleeding during a race. Irwin is opposed to Lasix, but his trainer uses this drug? Are you kidding me?

Mind very much that Irwin’s filly undoubtedly will be bred by Irwin, or be sold to some other member of WHOA, and will contribute to the same breed of Thoroughbreds that critics claim say is more frail than former generations. It is the Barry Irwins of the world that say Lasix makes the breed weaker. It is the Barry Irwins of the world that claim that therapeutic medications are performance enhancing. It is the Barry Irwins of the world that yell from the mountain tops that we shouldn’t treat these horses; we should wean these horses.

Until they have one, right?

Mind very much that W.H.O.A. — the Water Hay Oats Alliance — has not made one public statement. Not one.

No guts? No glory, WHOA.

Fess up, man. Barry Irwin is one of yours. He’s your stalking horse.

Where’s your public stance now?

And, truly, mind very much that industry periodicals — like “The Paulick Report,” and “The Blood-Horse” — have totally ignored this story for the past 3 damn days.

Ask them why?

Because it isn’t comfortable to find out that one of your “purists” is not so pure?

Because one of your friends is found to be wanting?

Because one of your financial supporters is found to be guilty of cheating?

Not a single word.

No guts? No glory, Ray Paulick.

Fess up, man. These are your people, who make your arguments.

Simply put, why should the industry trust people like this?

Why should the sport turn its’ decision-making over to people that are found to be hypocrites.

Why should the business even listen to people that are not willing to acknowledge that they are preaching on Sunday, and sinning on Monday.

Fess up, men.

If you don’t, you lose the right to even argue.

If you don’t, you have no right to the stage.

If you don’t, your words are meaningless. Your actions have spoken volumes.

Kathy Guillermo: 

In a recent edition of our “Muck Pit,” I wondered why Tim Sullivan, a columnist for the “Louisville Courier-Journal” had not reached out to PETA and spokesperson Kathy Guillermo for a comment on the fact that Churchill Downs had just ended its’ Spring/Summer race meeting with one of the safest health records in history.

I questioned why “Ms. Perfect” had not availed herself to the press, and why she had not had the chance to wax eloquently about the most recent Churchill Downs meet — which was run over God’s own racing surfaces of dirt and turf; with jockeys utilizing crops during races; with horses receiving therapeutic treatments of the anti-bleeder medication Lasix.

Last week, I got this email from “Ms. Friendly”:

Dear Mr. Mclean,

“I read your column on Churchill Downs and Tim Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan actually did reach out to PETA for a comment about Churchill’s improved fatality record, for an article on the Breeder’s Cup, but the email went to our spam. When it was retrieved, I sent the comment below to Mr. Sullivan. He was on his way out of town already and he forwarded it to his editor, who apparently made the decision not to use it. But for the record, here is what I said:

“PETA is hopeful that Churchill Downs will get fatalities to zero. They appear committed to making necessary changes and implementing the Santa Anita rules. It’s vital now—literally a matter of life and death—that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and all trainers and owners support this effort and not get in the way.

“Happy to talk if you ever wish to.”

All best,

Kathy Guillermo

Senior Vice President

PETA

757-943-7443

Hate to tell you this Kathy. Doubt I ever have a reason to talk with you, or your bogus organization — which simply exists as a cottage industry to exploit the tragedies of others. I don’t like the disgusting tactics that you have used in our state before. I don’t appreciate your dishonest characterizations. And, I despise your efforts to pay people to protest issues that they simply don’t have an idea about.

Simply put, I find your group to be pathetic.

And, I find your words to be meaningless.

 

 

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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