After successfully running several Execute Search firms before retiring at a young age, I learned, by serving highly successful business owners, CEO’s, Presidents, VP’s, et al., that you cannot sustain success by being nefarious. Your word, written or oral, has to be your bond. My father drilled it in us kids that “if your word ain’t sh*t, you ain’t sh*t.” Truth from 50+ years ago that still stands true today.
The proof of cheaters not prospering in my professional life, has been the bad actors who have refused to pay us. I have litigated against them to win and ultimately, they were fired from their positions or their firms went down the toilet. Cheating never has long term prosperity.
Today’s events, as well as other recent events at various other tracks with other involved parties, have caused me to discontinue my association with this “sport.” I simply cannot get behind an industry that continues to hide its head in the sand and maintain the good ol’ boy bs.
I read the entire indictment today and became physically ill.
Yes, a lot of good will come of this, however, doping and underhanded dealings have always been the wink-wink-nod-nod bad joke. This type of activity will resume until the thoroughbred industry operates with as heavy a hand as the SEC does to Wall Street to wit:
Picture this – it’s a gorgeous, balmy spring day and you kiss your three children and your spouse, a stay at home parent, goodbye. You leave your home, which you have a heavy mortgage on, get in your leased car, and head to your job at the track. You hold a senior position, one that has great pay, great benefits and you get to work amongst horse players, trainers, owners et al. Your work is a dream job and holds all the elements you can ask for – fun, daunting, somewhat high exposure, heavy responsibility, fantastic staff, etc etc etc.
The day is going fine, until you receive a call from the owner of the track. You see, a week ago, one of the horses in the owner's stable had a problem testing positive for a drug that is not allowed and the stewards want this horse disqualified. The owner of the track and the stable, makes mention of how he’d “appreciate it if you overlooked this race, just this one time.”
You know you can get away with it, yet you inwardly bristle. You absolutely need to be a part of the inner circle, you absolutely are dependent on this position and you absolutely want to do the right thing yet want to maintain your lifestyle.
What do you do?
In 2019, there was $1.1B in purse money being chased by owners, trainers and jockeys in the United States thoroughbred industry. For that, wagering on thoroughbred horses in 2019 was $11.1B. Accordingly, ten times the amount of money available for the connections of racehorses is bet and it all goes without regulation.
The state of California is trying to enact bill AB-1635 to limit the amount of simulcasted wagering events to $50. There are exceptions to this bill; however, try as they may, whether it is limiting the events, horse safety, anti-doping, track alteration mandates, or anything similar, the industry will never progress until there is a governing body, such as the SEC is to securities.
Back at your job, as you contemplate what to do, if there are no repercussions, legally, do you risk losing your job and the fallout from that? Or, do you “do the right thing,” keep your career, car, home, spouse and appease the owner.
Thoroughbred racing is the greatest thinking mans’ game. It requires analysis, imagination and intuition. However, when events like these transpire, I cannot be a part of something that my skills are removed by artificial means.
It has been a fun fifteen months picking horses for you.