That might be true, Maple, for the trainers YOU work with but I think it's naive to believe that everybody follows the rules just because the people you know and work with follow the rules. Like in any horse industry there are rotten trainers, rotten owners and rotten riders. There are even people in the industry of drug testing and coordinating who are willing to overlook certain things- you cannot speak for everybody. My old farrier worked and lived at the big track here, has seen first hand some of the abuse and doping that happens. A friend of mine had a boarding barn full of race horses boarded in the off season and there was definitely some shady business going on.
It can be aggravating to hear stories from the 'other' side when you've experienced the good care, the responsible trainers, etc. but there are two sides to every single equestrian industry.
Alexis, I have 14 years HAND ON experience working with racing in North America, UK and Ireland. I have been involved from backyard tracks through to some of the world's finest. My opinions and input is based on my experience, and I find it somewhat insulting you consider me to be naive when you are the one basing your opinions on hearsay or opinions from other people.. ever play telephone as a kid?
I have never tried to say racing is all unicorn farts and fairytales. I am well aware there will be dodgy dealings, as there are with all aspects of the horse industry. I have never tried to say that racing is without fault. Tell me this - if there is so much sweeping under the rug - how on gods name is Godolphin embroiled in such a scandal? If you know any basics of racing, you would know the power that they hold in the industry. Surely if ANYBODY could get away with drugs use it would be these power players?
It is not the trainers, owners or jockeys who make the rules - it is the relevant governing bodies who do. In the UK, its the BHA/Weatherbys, in Ireland its Horse racing Ireland, in France you have France Galop. They all have strict rules and regulations, and they, not the trainers, are the ones who enforce it. They are incredibly strict, even on quite trivial matters (try declarin a set of blinkers 2 min after deadline, it doesn't happen!). Heck even O'Brien was fined for not allowing a vet to look at his horse when it looked stiff - AOB wanted his own vet to do it, the horse was examined and the trainer received a hefty fine.
And yes I do find it aggravating - why don't we start a thread (just as examples!!) on how hard barrel horses are run, or how high show jumpers are made jump. Racing is the easy scape-goat for people to pick apart.