Being around racing has been some of the best time I could have ever spent. My years as a horse owner were as eye opening as a blast of Arctic air. But I digress… I was reading a story that was posted in Equidaily about a trainer who had run into a problem with his medical methods. My time as an owner gave me a glimpse and an earful of ancient secrets from the winner’s circle. Here is one I have heard, and the latest installment of a trainer looking to gain an edge.
The Magic Smoke
There was an old gelding who was a war horse in his day. But that day was turning to dusk, and the wheels of ingenuity started to spin for a needy trainer. He had heard that marijuana held curative qualities for equine athletes. It helped them relax, allowed them to recuperate, and assisted horses who wouldn’t eat. Now, all that he had to do was buy a bag of the “good stuff” and have a groom come in late at night to administer the “medicine.” All seemed good and well with the trainer, and he had the right groom for the job. He enjoyed smoking marijuana, and he would be glad to help. He designed a flexible hose that attached to a very large funnel. The funnel would be secure to the halter, and the man would blow smoke into the other end of the hose for the horse to inhale.
When morning came in the barn area, there was a groom who was sleeping outside of the stall and the horse was eating. When asked if he administered the “medicine” the groom had a an interesting story. He said he began smoking to see if it was any good, and forgot to attach the funnel to the halter. Before he knew it, all of the medicine was gone and he had passed out in front of the stall. You could chalk this one up to being stupid, or having a case of the dumbass. But the medicine was gone, and the trainers dreams went up in smoke.
I read this article from the Racing Post.com. – A trainer in Oklahoma has received bans totaling 30 years after three of his horses tested positive for dermorphin, a powerful painkiller said to be 40 times more effective than morphine.
It is better known as ‘frog juice’ because it occurs naturally in the skin of a South American frog.
The Oklahoma Racing Commission, which in January handed quarter-horse trainer Roberto Sanchez-Munoz a 100-year ban (albeit 80 of them suspended), warned off James E Jones after Tight Britches, Sudden Ghost and Lucky Son Of A Gun produced positive samples after running at Will Rogers Downs racecourse last year.
The three offences each carried fines of $10,000 and ten-year suspensions which run concurrently, meaning Jones, who has a window of time to appeal the decision, will be suspended for 10 years.
No matter what track, or how big the operation. We have heard horror stories about the few that give the many a bad name. For the handful of ugly stories I have heard, I could tell you of a hundred hard-working blue collar horsemen that love their animals. They play by the rules, and walk the line to ensure the integrity of the sport. Whenever I read an article as stated above, it makes me think of all of big name stables who have been exposed to light of day. I recall hearing about a trainer who used to rub cayenne pepper on his horse’s genital area. Or how about the stupid trainer who had a $100,000 horse who wouldn’t run. He tried everything, and eventually became so angry that he hit it in the head with a 2 by 4… I would love to have a Mickey Mantle swing at his noggin. When reading these stories, know there have been people from all walks that look for edge, or have a magic potion. At the end of the day an old trainer’s words come back to me. ” Feed them well, keep them clean, and give them plenty of time. If you wait, you’ll see a healthy horse that enjoys what he is doing.” – Now that sounds like horse sense to me…