OPINION: Department of “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me, Right?”

(Trainer Rodolphe Brisset / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

(Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)

In addition to our regular, “Muck Pit” columns and opinion pieces, which are fan favorites and wildly entertaining (well, at least I think so!), “The Pressbox” is starting a new feature that we like to call:

“The Department of: You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me, Right?”

From time to time, we will offer you up some “food for thought” for the day, and ask for you input and thoughts, as well. Mostly, these “soup starters” will be in the form of a “Jeopardy-like” question. But, for the most part, our questions are rather rhetorical, if not cynical, in nature.

Although we think that the very nature of the question probably needs no further explanation, we hope that you will enlighten us and others with your comments and thoughts.

Being that we have raised a few eyebrows and flags with our rather opinionated stance on the recent fact that horse owner Barry Irwin — a staunch advocate of the Water Hay Oats Alliance — had a filly disqualified from her most recent victory at Keeneland for testing positive for a prohibitive anti-bleeding medication that is not allowed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on any race days, we thought we would launch our new series today.

We thought that today’s question is especially poignant since the horse that was disqualified for her win at Keeneland — the Graded Stakes winner Talk Veuve to Me — is entered today at the world famous Saratoga Race Track in upstate New York.

Our question is this:

Santa Anita, NYRA and, most recently, Del Mar have all ruled, argued, and informed that Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer can’t have any stalls, nor can he enter any horses at their racing facilities — although none of the racetracks have offered any evidence of wrongdoing on the conditioner’s part, at this time.

They have declared that Jerry Hollendorfer — who still had and has some fantastic racehorses under his care and study — was and is, currently, persona non grata.

They have — without a hearing; without due process; without a public “cause” — ruled him off.

Rudely, I might add.


One of the world’s great racing institutions took the entry from a trainer — Rodolphe Brisset — just found to be in violation of Kentucky racing rules, and will allow Talk Veuve To Me, who was disqualified for racing on an illegal medication in April, to race today?

NYRA is going to allow an owner — whose horse was found to be under the influence of a performance-enhancing, illegal substance — to enter and run?

So let’s get this straight, right?

A horse that was found, clinically, to be guilty of cheating can compete?

But a Hall of Fame trainer, with absolutely no evidence or case mounted against him, cannot?


You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me, Right?








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 ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean