Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

31 May 2008

Dutrow & IEAH Getting Thrown Under The Bus

Rick Dutrow is the kind of guy that reporters dream about. He is animated, honest, candid and has a colorful past. This is a guy that could fill a newspaper page everyday. He could sell papers like hotcakes and captivate the public's imagination with his polarizing comments. Yet the press is not satisfied with just reporting on him and his barn. They have to forage for dirt. They could write a story about how he brought his horse Rising Moon off a year layoff for a rousing win but they do not. They could write a story about how he has claimed horses with his own money and retired him to the farm, but they do not. They could write about his tremendous horsemanship skills, gleaned over a lifetime of working with horses. Instead they choose to rehash sensational, painful stories about the horrific murder of his girlfriend. Over and over we hear about his 70 odd infractions of the last 30 years. This is his time and he the man of the moment, who are these people trying to take his moment? Some say Dutrow is classless or crude. Isn't trying to bring him down at a time when he is completely validating his horseman skills classless?

Dutrow may be a bit of a sneak but being a bit sneaky is not only part of the trainers job description it is a very desirable trait. The trainer from Seabiscuit was certainly sneaky, working his horse out in darkness to avoid scrutiny. This may have been an endearing trait for Tom Smith, but it not endearing for Dutrow, as he is labeled a cheat. Horse trainers should not be confused with high school guidance counselors or mistaken for the eastern region director of process improvement or some other position where you have to dress up, stifle your personality and shut up. A stable operates in secrecy especially a claiming stable where the bottom line is affected by the looseness of lips and conversely the braggadocio that helps scare away competition.
It is Dutrows job to give his horse every edge he can muster. Sometimes brash comments may discourage a contender from entering a race, sometimes it may get a tired horse claimed. Dutrow is master of all things braggadocio and it seems to either endear him to people or completely turn them off. One thing for sure almost everyone has an opinion.

Dutrow owns a trifecta of headline grabbing personality traits. The guy has brass balls, panache and a transparent personality. In a world where everyone says the same thing while saying nothing, Dutrow says everything and anything that comes to his mind. He can be funny, bold , rude and animated. He is the kind of person that makes the headlines that racing needs to stay in the limelight. Dutrow's personality trifecta is in short supply in racing, where many can be a complete bore. (2007 eclipse awards show expect for the steeplechase owner) Does Dutrow's candor make a classless person? Since when does boring equal class? Does Dutrow's personality make him classless? Or is it that everyone else has a sensitivity problem and can not take hearing the truth? Is the entire world at a dinner party with the Queen Mother at all times where the strictest of manners and protocol applies. There is a time for polite conversation and a time for discretion. However there is also a time for brash, bold comments and the racetrack is the perfect place for the comments that Dutrow makes. He is a breath of fresh air in this new backstretch world of political correctness and bland, vapid personalties. He injects personality and a bit of controversy where there was nothing.

Dutrow is a throwback to the game of old, a direct link to every trainer that had to scratch and scrap to keep horse going to keep the food on the table. He is his fathers son who was a master trainer in his own right. Now that old line of claiming trainers is back on top. Every comment from Dutrow is played like a poker hand, every move designed to bluff, to intimidate or draw in his competition for the kill. There was a time before Go Baby Go when the racetrack was a unapologetically a big boys place and a bad boys place. Sure there were upper class people at the track, but there were also gamblers, drunks, bookies and loansharks. Dutrow would have done just fine at the racetrack of old. Now his brash confident comments rub people the wrong way. They are not used to Dutrow's raw, unbridled confidence and demand the homogenized trainer speak they are used to which is somehow mistaken for class nowadays. His comments polarize the public and those that do not like him must not only hear what he has to say but they feel compelled to comment on what he has to say. Bashing Dutrow is a common occurance, it is almost as saying something bad about Dutrow and his past somehow makes you a better person, he is almost universally disparaged. If these people looked closer at Dutrow, and considered the historical context of the racetrack, I believe they will realize their folly.


Another guy taking a beating in the press is IEAH chief Iavarone. This guy went from pushing penny stocks on the Island to the top of the racing world. Learning about Iavarone's background makes the IEAH accomplishments all the more impressive as he is clearly operating on pure talent and panache. He picked Big Brown out of a maiden turf race and outbid the sheik and everyone else that wanted him. It was Iavarone that saw Big Browns brilliance in a turf maiden and it was Iavarone who had the stones to bet big on him off that turf win.

Iavarone is certainly no blueblood, but he is not street trash either. Street trash does not slap together the most successful stable in the country in just a few years. Not only is his stable a classic race winner, they are Breeders Cup winners and Dubai World Cup card winners too. He certainly had to fight, struggle, plan, take risks and persevere to get where he is today. Having the sand to take those risks have paid off in the biggest of ways. Rather than give credit to where credit is due, most are foraging like roaches looking for crap to rehash from 1992, looking to cut the man down with his past rather than acknowledge the present.
Then there is so much thinly veiled innuendo about the guy from the public and the press who has watched one too many Godfather and Sopranos episodes. What is the biases for this innuendo? Is it simply the vowel on the end of his name? What this guy has accomplished in this game is extraordinary, but few realize it.

Anyone that has read about about some of the famous familys like the Kennedys, Bushes or house De Rothchild knows those at the top always have a few skeletons in the closet. The Kennedys started out as bootleggers and Bushes/Rothchilds have been war brokers for generations, all those with success are doers and doers do lots of things good and bad. Is a SEC violation from the early 90's and bad check really that horrible a transgression? Certainly the UCLA deception is embarrassing but Iavarone came clean about that. What we can all agree upon is that he has made a huge impact on racing. Unfortunately with that success comes the envy and the haters who always push their way to the front with attempts to defame and marginalize. Fortunately history is written by the victors and history will be written next Saturday.


Anonymous said...

I see you what mean. These are two good guys, a blue collar criminal, and a white collar criminal. whata perfect pair to be the face of our sport. Dutrow was convicted of a check scheme where he STOLE from people he knew. He also tried to rob a convenient store near Belmont, but he got off because he was so high on drugs. We are supposed to believe he'll load himself with any drug he can get a hold of, but he wont give any to his horses. Sure. He was missing for 24 hours shortly after the Derby. I bet he was just catching up some loose ends in the community. Now, Iavorrone was suspended way back in the 90s, when he worked on wall street and worked for a firm that STOLE their clients money. He also owned the infamous horse, A One Rocket, who was loaded and milkshaked and bet by all who know. Their trainer, Greg Martin has been suspended ever since, but he insists he knew nothing about it. All along, he went from trainerless and jobless to buying horses for $3 million on whim. He wont say who finaced any of this run but the primary guy is some guy in Europe. Sure. Dont worry because all that was in the past. Dutrow has shown that he's rehabilitated and turned over a new leaf by being a classy guy and a good sport during the Triple Crown run, by insulting just about everybody. Yeah, I see your point how they are getting such a bad rap. Good guys.

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