Did you hear that the trainer of French import Reign of Terror (Fr), by Robespierre out of Committee of Public Safety, by French Revolution, was busted the other day at Saratoga? Turns out that Reign of Terror’s last four speed figures were “out of line” with the three consecutive figs recorded before that, a representative of The Jockey Club said. “He’s a cheater, and we busted him.”
The trainer, whose name has been withheld to protect his family, was led away by JC officials as he was about to van Reign of Terror off the grounds. Steve Haskin, who was nearby with a group of reporters accepting kudos for his terrific piece in bloodhorse.com on Rachel Alexandra, asked the official if there’d been a positive on the horse. “No, we didn’t need one, not in the conventional sense,” he said. “We had Jerry Brown’s speed figures, which showed beyond a reasonable doubt that the trainer was cheating. There isn’t a horse alive that could have jumped up figwise like Reign of Terror did.”
There you have it.
Do you believe it?
I didn’t think so, but did anyone read Jerry Brown’s letter to the editor in Daily Racing Form on Sept. 4?
One part of it stood out like a bad test. Jerry wrote: “I work with the Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee to try to root out cheaters, and my statements about there being very few suspicious move-ups in California were based strictly on scrutiny of the handicapping data I produce and publish.” Click here to read the letter.
What’s the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, you ask? On May 8, 2008, Dinny Phipps announced the formation of the committee. This from the JC website: “Phipps said that the committee would be asked to review every facet of equine health, including breeding practices, medication, the rules of racing and track surfaces, and to recommend actions to be taken by the industry to improve the health and safety of Thoroughbreds.”
I don’t know how this mission statement wound its way to working with Jerry Brown, the president of Thoro-Graph, to “root out cheaters,” but at the very least this is rife with conflicts of interest. The seven members of the committee are Stuart S. Janney III, John Barr, Jimmy Bell, Dr. Larry Bramlage, C. Steven Duncker, Dell Hancock and Dr. Hiram C. Polk Jr. Each is a member of The Jockey Club. Several are horse owners. A segment of Jerry Brown’s business is dedicated to “Professional Consulting and Management Services,” advising clients who race.
This “partnership” raises questions:
What happens if Jerry’s figs finger trainers of his clients or those of the committee members?
Scratch the first question. How can Jerry’s figs “root out cheaters” in the first place? Last I checked, only a lab could.
Why is the JC in this business?
Aren’t Jerry and the committee members strange bedfellows?
Isn’t this a “reign of terror”?
Doesn’t this make you go, Hmmmm…?