Last Sunday, December 18, Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked six field goals in his team’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Three days later, he found a note from the NFL taped to his locker ordering him to report “ASAP” for a random drug test, the second time he has been tested this season. Boswell soon tweeted to his thousands of followers “Random drug test” and the test was later reported on NFL.com.
The very same week, the Breeders’ Cup announced that the racehorse Masochistic was disqualified from his second-place finish in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Sprint for having 200 picograms of a steroid in his blood (the steroid in question is therapeutically permissible for training but takes about 60 days to clear the bloodstream).
The horse had previously been subjected to out-of-competition drug testing three times. Reportedly, the horse’s trainer was told three days before the Breeders’ Cup Sprint that a small amount of the steroid had been found in a test conducted five days earlier.
The finding was not made public because the California Horse Racing Board mandates confidentiality “except in a proceeding before the stewards or the Board, or in exercise of the Board’s jurisdiction” and the veterinary-client relationship is also confidential.
Without delving into the intricacies of the Masochistic case, it is perplexing that an NFL player tweets out to the world that he has been drug tested—and the incident reported on NFL.com—while a failed steroid test pertaining to a racehorse, conducted eight days before his next race, can be legally kept secret from the betting public.
Will the racing industry ever learn that the betting public’s perception of integrity depends on sincere transparency, or will the industry continue to operate in a veil of secrecy? The view here is that what occurred with respect to Masochistic is a form of insider trading where those in the know can trade on the information while the betting public be damned.
A storied old industry once again demonstrates that it is its own worst enemy.
Copyright © 2016 Horse Racing Business