If the favorite, Big Brown, wins the Kentucky Derby, expect the tone of the news coverage to change. His trainer has a history of doping that the mainstream press is putting aside in the usual rose-colored pre-race stories. Journalist Paul Moran has the story though, at his blog. Oddly, the story comes via the New York Times top horse racing writer Joe Drape, whose blog “The Rail” gives outstanding coverage of the Triple Crown. This is my first stop for horseracing news these days.
As an aside, I think that doping and horses provides a good example of the social costs of doping in general. The Nash equilibrium is to dope, and it has been going on for decades. But doped, muscle-bound thoroughbreds are more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury than horses that run clean. (Granted, I think the links here are much stronger than with humans.) Drape has a good post on this issue as well, “The Last Winstrol Derby?“, which discusses the possibility that American racing will ban & test for steroids in the near future. Winstrol has been used on horses long before it was injected – allegedly – into Roger Clemens’ butt.
And now to the land of scandals, European soccer. This time we go off the beaten path, to Romania, and the run-in for the league championship. The story has everything: ethnic tension between the two protagonists, allegations of payments to referees, payments to opposing teams, and mafia-like sniping between the clubs.