NEWS BLOG (WSAU) A One Rocket was a low-level racehorse – the kind that rushed to the lead when the race began but grew tired. On a cold December morning at Aqueduct Racetrack he was entered in a cheap race with little indication that he’d run any differently than before.
But run he did. The gate sprang open and A One Rocket went right to the lead. But on this day he didn’t grow tired. After a quarter-mile he’d already established a clear lead, and was leaving his competition further behind. He ran the second quarter-mile in a faster time than the first – unheard of except for stakes horses. In the home stretch he was still widening on the field, and crossed the finish line far in front. The track announcer told the crowd that A One Rocket “…ran like a champion today.” Indeed he did: 6-furlongs in 1:08 3/5… only two-fifths of a second slower than Spectacular Bid’s track-record time.
A One Rocket was the favorite; unusual for a horse with a lackluster record. Several sports books in Las Vegas reported big losses from large off-shore bets on the race. An investigation was launched.
The fix was in.
A One Rocket’s trainer went to jail for drugging his horse. The horse’s owner and 15 others, many with mafia ties, were indicted.
The biggest flaw in the scheme was the horse ran too well. How’d they do it?
Some horse races are fixed. There are probably more fixed races than there are test-result positives. Arrests and prosecutions are rare. When someone is caught, the number one question is ‘how?’ Before someone gets any leniency, like a plea bargain, they should have to tell-all.
That’s my question surrounding Lance Armstrong. I don’t follow cycling. I have only a passing interest about whether the sport is on-the-level. My assumption about Armstrong was that if he wasn’t clean, he’d be caught. He was probably the most-tested athlete in history. And test-after-test, year-after-year came back negative.
Armstrong confessed. He admits he was a cheater. So, Lance, how’d you do it? That needs to be part of the confession. The key part. And I’m fine if he faces lawsuits or criminal prosecution to bring out the ‘how’.
The A One Rocket mystery was eventually solved. Before the race on December 3, 2003 a garden hose was placed down the horse’s throat and a mixture of water and baking soda was poured directly into the horse’s stomach. The chemical reaction that occurred delays fatigue during racing by reducing lactic acid. The only evidence is increased Co2, which didn’t show up in post-race urine tests. Today the practice of ‘milk shaking’ a racehorse is easily tested and is illegal.
So, what exactly did Lance Armstrong do? How’d he get away with it all this time?