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My all-time pet peeve is dishonesty.

Like all other negative traits, dishonesty tends to exponentially multiply during times of duress.  I have written volumes of my experiences with human nature since mining stocks peaked in April 2007, particularly since the commencement of Global Meltdown I in late 2008.  Individually, mankind has produced countless men and woman of strong moral fiber.  However, as a species, experience has made me less sanguine.  Life does that to you, and living on the cusp of FINANCIAL ARMAGEDDON, I suspect we “ain’t seen nothing yet.”

This weekend, I was shocked to see the racehorse I’ll Have Another scratched from the Belmont Stakes – the last leg of the U.S. “Triple Crown” of Horse Racing.  I am not a horse racing fan per se, but watching these three races – the Belmont, Preakness, and Kentucky Derby – are an American tradition.

I’ll Have Another’s scratch from the Belmont raises questions about Horse Racing’s credibility

Despite the fact that horse racing is only participated in by the ultra-rich, it is endearing to hear stories of individual horses, jockeys, and trainers – particularly when the Triple Crown is on the line.  Only eleven horses have won it in the past century – the most recent in 1978 (Affirmed), and the most famous in 1973 (Secretariat).  Secretariat still holds record times in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, the latter of which he won by an astounding 31 lengths.


This year, I’ll Have Another prevailed in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes by the smallest of margins, in both cases beating prohibitive favorite Bodemeister by a nose.  Particularly in the incredibly thrilling Preakness Stakes, this was a real life example of Goliath twice defeating David…

2012 Preakness Stakes

Consequently, the nation was set afire in anticipation of the Belmont, as so many times it has seen horses win the first two legs, only to fail at the longest of the three – at Belmont Park in “MY HOMETOWN” of Long Island, New York.  War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, and Big Brown all failed in the past decade; would this finally be the year a horse completed the task?

First two legs – Triple Crown Chart

I am not a horse racing aficionado, but the aforementioned article describes the scenario that led to I’ll Have Another being scratched – as well as the sport’s sordid history of doping.  Apparently, the Belmont Stakes has a rule stating ALL horses must be sequestered in the same barn for the three days prior to the race – observed by security cameras and race officials.  The rule was instated to prevent doping and other illegal practices, such as “milk-shaking” horses with illegal substances.  Milk-shaking was legal when Big Brown attempted the Triple Crown in 2008, but due to the sequestering rule, he was taken off his anabolic steroid regime in the three days before the race.  Take a guess what place Big Brown finished in – LAST!

In the three weeks prior to this year’s Belmont Stakes, I’ll Have Another trained like a champion – ready as ever to challenge for horse racing’s biggest prize.  However, when he was forced into the sequestration quarters Wednesday, something strange happened.  Thursday morning he had a fantastic, media-observed workout, but Thursday afternoon his trainer – who has a checkered history of horse doping violations – claimed the horse incurred a “one bad-step injury,” to use horse racing parlance.  No a soul noticed anything untoward about his workout, but his own team did.  By Friday night, not only was the horse scratched from the race, but PERMANENTLY retired!

Before reading this article, my initial thought was the owner was being cautious, given the horse’s obviously enormous stud – i.e. breeding – value.  However, my intuition tells me the same thing occurred with I’ll Have Another as Big Brown.  In other words – as in so many other sports these days – I’ll Have Another was “juiced.”  Baseball, bicycling, football, boxing…you name the sport, and I’ll name the cheaters.

Of course, the horse is not the problem, but its handlers.  As an animal lover, I am APPALLED at the practice of injecting drugs into defenseless horses.  However, mankind has been cruel to animals – and men – for time immemorial, so no one should be surprised.  Just another chapter in the history of human indecency, yet again in the name of greed.  Horse racing, financial markets, government…what’s the difference?

The moral of the story is be very careful who you trust, as liars, thieves, and charlatans await at every corner.


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