Q: How long have you been watching racing?
I have been watching racing since 1977, so that would make it 41 years.
Q: What is one current industry rule that you would change?
There needs to be uniform rules for all racing jurisdictions as to what kind of interference in a race would qualify for a change of order or disqualification. It would be like the NFL rulebook, which lists definitions of pass interference, roughing the passer, etc. While I am aware of incidental contact, after all, jockeys are riding 1200 lb animals, but I am tired of seeing one set of stewards in one state take down a horse for “interference in the stretch,” but a set of stewards in another state keep a horse’s number up, who did the same thing. This has to be fixed.
Q: What do you want to see from the industry (action wise) when a scandal breaks?
I want the industry to be more transparent. I want the industry to reassure the public that the scandal will be dealt with fairly, and the wrongdoers will be punished. I want the industry to own their scandal, and not point fingers at others.
Q: What is one thing that the industry currently does (in response) that you would change?
The industry tends to circle the wagons and like most industries go into ‘cover their rear end’ mode. They attack the media, or try to deflect the problem to someone else, let’s say PETA. For example, when PETA went undercover into now Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn and into other places, and released that video to spread their anti-horse racing propaganda a few years back, many in the industry attacked PETA. Many in the industry deflected it as an “anti-horse racing vendetta. I didn’t approve of PETA’s tactics, either. However, Mr. Asmussen was investigated by both New York State and Kentucky, and I believe he was cleared of horse abuse. As I said, people just wanted the subject to go away.
Q: (continued from above) What would you change?
What I would change is that racing needs a Commissioner. I have said this for a very long time. They need a Commissioner, who represents the sport. Below him or her would be a VP of Breeding Operations and a VP of Racing Operations. The VP of Breeding Operations department would cover the Breeding industry, and the Racing Operations would cover the Racing Industry itself, the rules, all of that. There would also be a department for Racing Aftercare as well.