There are several shortcomings in the way medication of horses is done in Bangalore Turf Club. There is no check on what the private veterinarians do. The recent instance of Premarin, a female sex hormone being given to a male horse has raised sufficient storm to put the club in poor light.
What is more shocking is that the treating vet has reportedly told during the enquiry that he has given this medication to several horses both in the present and in the past. Has the club been able to obtain the log sheets as to when this drug was given and to which horse in the past? How did the vets not able to detect this issue early because Premarin had been used by the vet for several years? What were the club`s vets doing?
To compound matters, the private vet shockingly revealed his ignorance of the medication rules which is periodically updated. A racehorse is exposed to the risk of breaking down during a race and subsequently euthanized, but these are the hazards that any sportsmen face. However, to ensure that the health of the horse is not compromised through injection of substances which are not naturally produced in the body, the medication rules are in place and as such ignorance is a crime.
Harimohan Naidu has been the Chairman of the Club in the past along with Satish Chandra and they should be aware of the goings-on. As administrators they are duty bound to know everything. Otherwise they will be failing the test of commitment to the post they hold. Since these worthies rarely take questions, I would like to put the following questions before them through this medium so that the racing public is well informed.
1. What is the arrangement that the trainer has with a private vet?
2. Are these vets certified by the club?
3. Are the private vets allowed to use the facility of the club to conduct operations in the club`s hospital?
4. Is the treatment given by the private vets logged in the book without fail and the same ratified by the Chief Veterinary Officer?
5. Is there a system of the trainer presenting the log book for ratification every day or at the end of week so that all entries are updated in the club`s computer system?
6. Do the club`s records show the use of Premarin at any instance by a private vet or the club`s vet?
7. Is it not shocking that medication is being administered to horses without the club`s principal vet being not aware of what is going on?
8. Is the club conducting any refresher course to educate the trainers about the medication rules as most of the trainer feign ignorance when they land in a problem?
9. Should the club not enlighten the trainers by asking the reputed vets to update them about the rules that are periodically changed or altered, or additional conditions brought in?
10. After treatment at the club`s hospital, is the vet guiding the trainer about the number of days that a racehorse cannot race?
11. What if the horse comes positive even after following the advice? Will the trainer get the benefit of doubt?
12. What is the system of punishment followed?
13. Why are the punishments not quantified and left to the discretion of the Stewards giving scope for manipulation?
14. Is the club going beyond the obvious of punishing the trainers for vicarious responsibility?
15. Is there a transparent system where anyone can access the information about the trainer and his past record of medical infringements?
16. Why is the database of trainers and incorporating all their commissions and omissions not listed in the club`s website?
17. Why are the medication rules not published in the club`s website?
18. What is the process that takes place once a positive is notified by the testing laboratory?
19. How is it that the information is leaked selectively even before the club officially announces that a horse has come positive?
20. Why does the club not notify about the preliminary report of a horse having come positive for the benefit of the racing public?
21. Why is this process not put out in its websites like the British Horse Racing website which is perhaps the best in the world for both being comprehensive and for being prompt with information as soon as a Stewards enquiry is over?
22. Why is the club attempting to hide information most of the times?
23. Are the club mandarins not concerned about the image of racing as well as the integrity of the sport?
In these days when it is easy to disseminate information, providing vital information and making them available through search facility will eliminate much of the suspicion that prevails now. The club needs to put the protocol in place especially after the Queen Latifa episode which unnecessarily put the club in a serious problem.
Will the Chairman and his members take the trouble of implementing these suggestions in the interest of the sport? In the past various suggestions put out by this writer have been acted upon including incorporating veterinary treatment reports in the race card.
One former Steward of the club made an interesting observation: ``Racing goes on without anyone bothering about it. The committee members just come in properly dressed and take photographs in the paddock and go. There seems to be no interaction between the Committee and the owners, trainers and jockeys. Each group does what it wants! And the paying public is ignorant. They too come and go!``