‘Milk shakes’
steroids of racing

Mar 1, 2005 8:18 AM

In sports, the use of steroids by some big time athletes has been the main topic of late. In the world of horse racing the use of "milk shakes" by some trainers to enhance the performance of their horses has become the big topic.

The last trainer to fall in Southern California was young trainer Adam Kitchingman, who now becomes the fourth trainer at Santa Anita (Julio Canani, Vladimir Cerin and Jeff Mullins are the others) that has been monitored for some time. These trainers’ horses now will be under a 24-hour quarantine prior to starting in any race.

Kitchingman is the only one of the dirty four that has fessed up, stating "I got caught playing with fire, and I’ll have to reconsider what I was doing. I’m not going to deny it like everybody else who got caught."

Kitch also said that you do stuff necessary to win races. Horse racing has been a tainted sport for a long time, but that was mostly at minor tracks with small purses. There was always someone trying to pull something and now with all the new drugs out there I guess none are above taking a chance to get an edge.

I really got to hand it to Kitchingman, who was the one with enough courage to say yes I did it, and got caught. Hey Barry Bonds, maybe there is a little lesson here.

Horse racing has really changed over the past 20 years with the way they breed and train horses today. One of the first handicapping lessons that I ever learned was to dismiss any horse that had not run within the last 30 days. Well you can throw that one out the old handicapping window.

Just take a little look at a race that was run at Santa Anita on Sunday, the 53rd edition of the Las Flores Handicap — a G3 event. There was a 6yo mare entered that hadn’t seen the starter box since August 2003 at Saratoga. That was an Allowance in which she finished sixth in a field of seven. Now two years later she shows up here running in a 100k race by an unknown trainer without a race win. This mare ran great, paying $24 and change. She did have a great record in her native Argentina and looked good in a Feb. 14 workout.

Well, we have hit March and I’m starting to get Derby fever. Trainer Nick Zito got off to a good start with two of his top KD horses, Sun King who won big at Gulfstream Park in Miami and Andromeda’s Hero, winning comfortably at Tampa Bay. Hero really is maturing at the right time and his breeding has Kentucky Derby written all over him. You can still get a very good price on this guy in the future book at Bally’s/Paris or Palms race books.

There are some nice Derby preps coming up this Saturday at Gulfstream with the Fountain of Youth and the Swale Stakes. The Swale will have the fastest 3yo in the world running, Lost In The Fog. Also, there is a chance that Bobby Frankel could unveil undefeated High Limit for his 3yo debut in this race.

How fast is Lost in the Fog? Well, he just worked out at five furlongs in a swift 58.20 seconds. It’s just a matter of how far this guy can go. I think one mile will be the max for this guy. No Derby horse here.

So far my money is on Andromeda’s Hero, who looks to have a huge upside as the distances get longer. I also took a flyer on the Bob Baffert trained Roman Ruler, who could be set for a big effort when he shows up March 19 in New York for the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. Roman Ruler is another son of Fusaichi Pegasus with a minor foot and testicle problem, but both look to be behind him. If this guy wins the Gotham, run to that future window and get down.