The stewards at Fair Meadows have temporarily suspended (pending a hearing) trainer Etniel Sanabria for a positive on his horse A Relentless Gamble June 10. The dope of choice: methamphetamine. The ruling states that meth is a “prohibited substance with no acceptable threshold level for horses [and] which can affect performance.” Okay, so that much we knew. But how about this: “[Meth can] potentially affect the welfare of the betting public.” That’s the welfare of the betting public. All I need do is relay this stuff as it crosses my desk.

The Oklahoma Racing Commission announced the following Friday:

“A REPORT WAS RECEIVED STATING THE HORSE JUST A KVN, WHICH PLACED 1ST IN THE 3RD RACE AT REMINGTON ON THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2022, TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE PROHIBITED SUBSTANCE D-METHAMPHETAMINE. ON JUNE 24, 2022, THE BOS AT RP DETERMINED THAT THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE IS AT RISK AND REQUIRES EMERGENCY ACTION AND THE SUBSTANCE D-METHAMPHETAMINE CAN AFFECT THE PERFORMANCE OF A HORSE AND THE WELFARE OF THE BETTING PUBLIC, OTHER LICENSEES, AND HORSES IN HIS CARE. THEREFORE, IT IS THE ORDER OF THE BOS AT RP THAT OWNER/TRAINER ETNIEL SANABRIA IS SUMMARILY SUSPENDED EFFECTIVE JUNE 24, 2022, AND CONTINUING PENDING A HEARING AND FINAL DETERMINATION.”

“The public health, safety, and welfare is at risk – emergency action required.” Priorities, huh? And bet you didn’t know that methamphetamine “can affect the performance of a horse.” The “D” prefix, by the way, stands for dextro, the more potent of the two forms of meth – “more stimulating and psychoactive, [with] a higher abuse potential,” according to one medical site. The 2-year-old Just a Kvn has not been raced since the positive over a month ago.

This is horseracing.

Some odds and ends…

In the 4th at Churchill Friday, Vicki Rose “went wrong” and was eventually “vanned off.” Nothing unusual there, of course. But there’s also this: Vicki “was fractious in the starting gate.” Perhaps the two-year-old – two-year-old – was trying to tell her exploiters, in the only way she knows how, something was wrong from the start.

Yesterday at Sam Houston, Runaway Match Race became the third “bled [from the lungs], vanned off” in two days at that track.

And finally, after waiving his right to a hearing, trainer Jorge Gonzalez was fined by the stewards at Remington for drug positives in his charge Eye On Politics after a race in May. The drugs in question: caffeine and theophylline, which, WebMD says, “is used to treat lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema” – in humans, of course. Eye On Politics continues to be under the yoke of Gonzalez.

As those of you with a decent knowledge of this industry well know, Lasix is a controversial issue. There are those, the so-called reformers, who hold that the drug is but a performance-enhancer: A diuretic, Lasix helps shed water weight (lighter=faster) and, as a flush, may also aid in concealing the illegal stuff. The other side argues that Lasix is humane: Rapidly-moving racehorses, they say, naturally bleed from their lungs – “exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage,” it’s called.

Count $115-million trainer Dale Romans among those who have defended the drug: “Racing causes [EIPH] in 100% of horses. [O]ne of the worst abuses that can be done to the racing horse is to ban Lasix.” Colleague Rick Violette: “Horses bleed. That is a fact. To force an animal to race without [Lasix] is premeditated, borderline animal abuse.” Finally, and most damning, trainer Mike Rogers: “This BS that horses don’t bleed is insane. They actually bleed so much, they’re drowning.”

That raceday Lasix is primarily used to make horses faster is a pretty good bet. But what if the Romans/Violette/Rogers crowd is also correct – that pulmonary bleeding is inherent in a racing-horse? Translated, this would mean that the “sport’s” fundamental physical action universally causes some level of pain or suffering; the abuse the above are so compassionately attempting to save their horses from is already there – from the start.

With all that as backdrop, this from the 6th at Mahoning yesterday: “Cowtown Cowboy chased the pace into the turn, stopped and returned bleeding bilaterally” – from both nostrils, that is. And yes, he was on Lasix. The 8-year-old Cowtown, by the way, had just recently resurfaced after a 27-month absence from racing.