Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

26 March 2009

Chemical Culture Pervades

Drugs in American racing is not a unique phenomenon. For many generations anything American with legs or roots has been enhanced with a substance or genetically engineered for a specific quality. It is disingenuous for the New York Times to single out racing as a bastion of synthetic advantage. Everything from your corn based breakfast cereal to your dinner steak to your ballgame has been chemically enhanced by one substance or another. The chemical enhancement culture is everywhere and in everything. Racing is just another part of this culture where chemical advantage is annexed.

An outstanding example of a real synthetic coup is corn. Before rich petroleum based fertilizers and genetic engineering corn was a not very tasty, not very nutritious Native American crop. With the powerful assistance of petroleum based fertilizer combined with genetic engineering corn yields have increased from 20 bushels per acre in 1900 to 138 bushels. These impeccable gains in corn yields have led to cows forgoing a grass diet to eat the cheap corn. Instead of having a steer eat his natural diet of grass for 3 years to reach 1000 lbs you can combine corn feed and steroids and have him reach 1200 lbs in 18 months. Nature is not this easy and nature throws up road blocks. When nature objects, science and chemical culture provides the answers. When the cattle get sick from eating an unnatural corn diet the chemical culture prescibes that the cattle ingest a regular regimen of antibiotics. Without these antibiotics your common steer might not live long enough to make to your dinner plate. When the corn diet fattens the steer quickly it is also unnatural and killing the steer slowly. So when you sit down to your next steak dinner remember that you are not eating beef but you are consuming oil, steroids and antibiotics.

The same philosophy that has held sway in the world of agriculture has made its way to American sports as well. There way be a time when all the statistical records of major league ballplayers from the period from 1994-2007 may have an asterisk next to their name. Almost every homerun/pitching record setter has been linked to human growth hormone and anabolic steroids. It is almost like baseball in the 1990's was like corn agriculture in the early part of the 20th century. Numbers that were static for over a generation were exploding and expanding like an Obama deficit. Pumped it up with synthetic substances and the homerun yields exploded exponentially. While this may be unsavory the public largely ignored that drugs were the foundation of the statistical explosion. Huge crowds showed up for the Sammy Sosa-Mark McGuire show in 1998 when both players smashed the home run record with the help of anabolic steroids. This drug enhanced farce was a huge boon for MLB and helped it make a comeback after its disastrous 1994 labor strike. Only with the recent public outcry has baseball corrected it's ways and has begun to sun chemical culture substances.

With racing sort of a being a hybrid of Gambling/Sport/Agriculture it is of little surprise that chemical enhancement American philosophy has made its way to racing. Yes American horses race on Lasix and in some jurisdictions anti-inflammatory medication like bute. It is unfortunate that American racing has polluted the thoroughbred gene pool with these substances. The rest of the world really does have it on the drugs in racing issue. When viewed in the context of America in the late 20th century American racing and drugs is hardly a surprise. It is part of a larger culture that laughs at the laws of nature and blasts natural consequences with synthetic substances. Now that we are squarely in the 21st century many of the consequences for our dependence on drugs and chemical shortcuts have began to emerge. There is a growing market for grassfed beef and notorious steroid ballplayer freaks like Barry Bonds are shunned.
Racing has begun the task of reform and in many ways is ahead of your dinner which is still loaded with steroids, antibiotics and petroleum rich fertilizer. Today is a golden opportunity for racing to get ahead of the curve and dump the chemical dependence addiction in the rear view mirror.

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