Q-Racing Blog: Worth Remembering

Looking back at 2017.

Looking back at 2017.

Keep in mind that everything that follows is just my personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of AQHA or other racing organizations.

Don’t forget 2017. It could prove to be a pivotal year in American Quarter Horse racing.

There were many events that will help shape our future, however leading this list is the sale of Ruidoso Downs.

The final sale went down on October 13 and that date will always be on the list of Ruidoso Downs’ main events. The sale of Ruidoso Downs, the Billy The Kid Casino and the Ruidoso Horse Sale Company by R.D. Hubbard went to Stan Sigman, John Andreini, Narcisco “Chicho” Flores and Johnny Trotter. The new ownership is known as All American Ruidoso Downs LLC (AARD) and All American Ruidoso Horse Sales LLC (AARHS). The new owners comprise the board of directors, with Sigman as the chairman. They selected Jeff True as president and general manager.

Full disclosure: My day job is at Ruidoso Downs and this summer will be the 12th meet that I work. The press box, my summer home, is next to Hubbard’s suite and we saw each other and talked on virtually every racing day and then some. I’ve known the Hubbards since the days of Denim N Diamonds. I have learned so much about racing from Mr. Hubbard and his vast experience and intelligence.

More full disclosure: I know these new owners and they are men of integrity. We are very blessed to have a group of the quality of these men take over the iconic Ruidoso Downs.

As Mr. Hubbard, with his arm around my shoulder, said to me the evening after the All American Futurity, “It’s time to move forward.”

I’m not in the predicting business, but just watch. It’s all good.

Drugs, drugs, drugs. That is an annual theme and was prevalent in 2017. I will keep this short because we’ve all read the news releases and stuff written and edited by lawyers.

I have been writing about Quarter Horse racing for 40 years and become a more hay, oats and water guy about every day. We always want to do what is best for the horse. That responsibility falls upon all of us. I know there are many therapeutic medications that do their job very well and help horses. I also know that they are abused in an effort to enhance a horse’s performance.

There is another aspect of this situation that should be a top priority in all of racing. I can write “therapeutic medication,” which is true, but most of the people in the public see those words and think “drugs.” It goes to the core of racing’s integrity and has been addressed in 2017.

But we need more action. This includes immediate consideration of all race-day medications.

I will bring up the “L-word” Lasix, also known as Salix and furosemide. It is a very efficient medication for bleeders; however, is a diuretic. It makes the horse urinate and lose weight. We mandate a jockey’s weight – within a matter of a few pounds – while Lasix can reduce a horse’s weight by much more than a few pounds. Also, it can dehydrate a horse.

I won’t even get into the fact that so many other countries do not allow race-day medications. I will just mention Tepin (TB). She was twice the American champion turf female and went to England to take the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over Europe’s leading milers without racing on Lasix.

The British Horseracing Authority employs suggested detection times. Many British trainers take these times and extend them because of variances between horses. It’s something worthy of consideration. Anyone can easily find anecdotal evidence to support about anything. I know serious consideration of the elimination of race-day medication will cause a firestorm.

I’m no expert. I only made it to 200-level chemistry at CSU, but I’ve known horseplayers and newbie fans since those CSU days. Perception of integrity is paramount.

One more note: I still miss Brad McKinzie daily. He will be remembered.

Happy new year and great racing to all of you.

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