Tuesday’s Paulick Report features a press release containing quotes from RCI President Ed Martin. “At a critical time for the racing industry RCI continues to demonstrate proficiency and leadership in a number of areas essential to the sport. The collective involvement of our members, working in consultation with the various breeds has resulted in important advances designed to safeguard horses as well as the integrity of the sport. “Those advances include widespread adherence to RCI/RMTC lab standards, increased reliance on pre-race veterinarian examinations, limits on toe grabs, development of universal totalizator system standards and increased training and accreditation for racing officials. “The expertise represented in the RCI leadership and Board is balanced and represents every aspect of the sport. Veterinarians, owners, trainers, fans , those who know the business, those who know racing, and those who understand government. RCI is truly independent with no agenda other than to protect these great sports by safeguarding our athletes and participants as well as the public interest.”
My reply to Mr. Martin: If RCI is and has been concerned for some time about safeguarding the industry, its athletes, and participants as well as the public interest, where in hell have they been? We have heard no suggestions coming from RCI directly. They support the ideas of others and definitely are not proactive. At a critical time for the industry stewards and commissioners have failed in their responsibilities to protect athletes, participants and the public interest. With the recent rash of bad tests for illegal drugs, this industry has been screaming for leadership in the form of some individual or organization. They are screaming because many of your members and the stewards they approve have done a disgraceful job of regulating the industry. Stewards and commissioners have adjudicated cases in a very liberal manner promoting the idea that none of these violations are any matter of importance. Stewards and commissioners suspend trainers for days that should have been given years and allow them to transfer horses in their care to their assistants on an almost automatic basis during the period of suspension however brief. By their silence, commissioners condone these short suspensions and along with their stewards have brought the industry to its present status.