Loose Lips Don’t Always Sink Ships

June 11, 2020

The game of horse racing has changed in many ways. Day in and day out we see trainers accused of being cheaters by fans, primarily anonymously on social media. They are also fast on the draw to call out racing media for not openly labeling those they suspect of cheating as cheaters. Could they be any more ridiculous ? I don’t think so. Media can’t label suspected cheaters as cheaters without being able to prove it. You know that old libel and slander thing. It costs you money when you can’t prove what you say. if you are an anonymous troll, or even someone with a big zero in the bank I guess you can say what you want with no repercussions. Most of the media don’t fall into that category nor do the publications they work for. With that, applauding obvious cheaters, albeit ones you can’t prove does the game and the sport no favors.

The game has changed. The drugs, including legal, therapeutic, and yes illegal have evolved. Training methods have evolved as well. In today’s game a high winning percentage does not automatically mean you are a cheater. It can, but it is not an automatic. The above factors along with condition book changes and more types of races all contribute to higher overall winning percentages. The bigger purses allow more aggressive placement of horses and even running lower than the claiming price or even the horse’s worth.

Horse racing is very competitive and winning is what it is all about. Claiming trainers make up 75 % of all trainers. Good claims and not so good claims can be made. That’s the nature of the sport. It’s best to not run a horse in a claiming race if it is going to be upsetting if the horse is lost to a claim. 

Recently, a trainer came out making defamatory and untrue remarks on social media about the new connections of a horse that was claimed.

For transparency, the owner is my son and the trainer is my daughter Kim Graci. The horse’s name is Nico’s Pride. He was claimed for 4 thousand at Delaware Park. The horse went on to make $100,000 for the new connections. The original trainer has had only positive remarks about the job that has been done with Nico’s Pride. I wouldn’t expect anything else from him as we have been competing against each other for 35 years. 

Why some trainer wants to chime in and make derogatory and unfounded statements is beyond me. Although the new owner and trainer are my relations, it wouldn’t stop me from writing this article if they were not relatives. The individual making disparaging remarks has not been to the winners’ circle in over two years. My daughter, Kim, is a trainer that cares deeply for her horses and is very successful. Sometimes, success brings out the worst in people on the sidelines.

Trainers are paid to win not lose. I realize we are in the middle of a cheating scandal now, as I said in the beginning of this article. Winning is what a trainer needs to do. Seconds don’t count. You probably don’t remember who got beat in the Super Bowl but you remember The Chiefs Won. Just in case you care the 49ers got beat. 

I did respond to this trainer and told him you should take a page out of Kim’s book. She seems to know how to win as my son does. His stable has earned over a million dollars last look. Kim is pushing 5 million and just happens to be a great trainer, not a cheater. She takes care of her horses, and runs them where they belong. This critical person is wrong and owes both of them an apology. I made him an offer to come on my radio show and we would talk about it, I’m still waiting. Some trainers just do not know how to be gracious in defeat.


See you at the races.

Contributing Authors

JJ Graci

JJ was born in Philadelphia, Pa.  and attended Villanova University. He has vast experience in horse racing and broadcasting. JJ has been a fixture in...

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