Saturday, July 12, 2008

Curlin Off Roids...Looking for 4th Win Roid Free

Today Curlin will look to win it's 4th race in a row, roid free.

After being named the 2007 Horse of the Year, it turns out, Curlin might have been aided during his impressive run by Big Brown's roid of choice, Winstrol. His owner Jess Jackson, has acknowledged Curlin's past roid usage and now wants to prove that Curlin is a roid-free champion.

In January, Jackson "discovered" that Curlin was roiding up from trainer Steve Asmussen and advised him to stop its use. Since cycling off the juice Curlin is undefeated, and crushed the field in a seven-and-three-quarter-length victory over an impressive field at the $6 million Dubai World Cup in March. Dubai has the some of the world's toughest testing standards in horse racing.

In today's Grade I $500,000 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park, Curlin will try to keep the roid free winning streak alive. This race is important for Curlin and Jackson because their sights are set on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 5 at Longchamp Race Course in Paris. If Curlin can win today and in October, Jackson hopes that he can bring back some much needed credibility to the sport of horse horsing.

“I’m trying to prove that Curlin is a real champion, and that we can race horses into their 4-year-old years and beyond,” said Jackson, 78, the founder and owner of Kendall-Jackson Winery. “I want to show the industry that we can breed horses with stamina and durability, and race them clean.”

Last month, Jackson put all his trainers on notice (he has more than 60 racehorses) that he would take the step to independently drug test his horses after each race. The owners of Big Brown, IEAH, have also said they will do this starting in October. Unlike most professional sports, Jackson has instituted a one strike and you're out policy: the trainer would be fired for any positive test.

Ironically enough, Texas racing officials said that a horse trained by Asmussen tested positive for the anesthetic lidocaine, the same drug that Roger Clemens said Brian McNamee injected him with and not the PED's that McNamme alleges.

What is it with baseball players and horses taking the same drugs? Isn't there something inherently wrong if the same drugs that Barry Bonds allegedly used to fuel his assault on the home run record is being used to fuel Big Brown's assault on the Triple Crown? If anything, this disturbing development leads credence to the claim that pets should be able to take psychotic drugs that humans take - apparently animals and humans are reaping the same benefits.

In this specific instance, Asmussen took a page from the "tested positive athlete" playbook and has denied wrongdoing, claiming that the test was "faulty" and that he was not allowed to send the samples to a lab of his choosing. Isn't the purpose of having independent testing so that the possible cheat doesn't have the option to send it to a "friendly" lab? Lucky for Asmussen, Jackson is buying his story! Jackson will take a wait and see approach before any discipline. I'm sure today's race had nothing to do with altering his stance on the one and done strict discipline policy.

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