Preakness 2012: Ways Trainers, Horses and Jockeys Can Cheat

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 21:  Jockey Jesus Castanon guides Shackleford #5 (C) to victory over Animal Kingdom and jocky John Velazquez #11 (L) and Astrology with jockey Mike Smith #1 (R) to win the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 21, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Cheating in horse racing has gone on for quite some time, with some folks getting caught and others getting away with it.

More often than not, it will happen at smaller events. But the unfortunate truth is that it could've happened at the 2012 Kentucky Derby, and it may occur at the 2012 Preakness Stakes, but we may never know. 

Of course, as fans, we hope that nobody is cheating, no matter what the sport is. With thoroughbred horse racing, though, big money is on the line, which leads some to try and gain an unfair advantage.

Everyone knows (or should know) that cheating is wrong, and if caught, those who cheat deserve the consequences given to them. 

As for the 137th edition of the Preakness, I doubt anyone would cheat, but it's still something that is possible. 

Most of the cheating in horse racing that you will see stems from doping, while other times a race will be fixed. 

Typically it's the trainers that go too far and cheat, but a jockey can cheat as well. Per USA Today, back in December of 2011, four jockeys and two owners were banned from the sport after it was found they were fixing races in the British Horseracing Authority. 

In addition to fixing races, a jockey might also get physical during the actual race, although in this day and age it's much easier to get caught doing that. 

But for the most part, the cheating in thoroughbred racing mostly deals with anabolic steroids and other drugs. 

Giving a horse drugs to enhance his talent is wrong on so many levels, with the main focus being on the damage it could do to the life of the horse. 

Big-time trainers have been suspended for their misuse of medications. As Jeremy Plonk of ESPN wrote back in 2007, three big-name trainers, Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen and Doug O'Neill, were all suspended at the start of that year because of "medication infractions." 

Pletcher has been a major hot-shot trainer in the horse racing world, winning the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver in 2010. He also trained Rags to Riches, winner of the 2007 Belmont Stakes, the first filly to win since 1905.

O'Neill won the Derby this year with his horse, I'll Have Another, surging late to upset Bodemeister in the final stretch. 

Hopefully they weren't misusing medications on the horses that ended up winning, but having been suspended in the past, a close watch is likely kept over them to make sure they don't break any rules. 

Cheating in horse racing may never go away, simply because there is so much money in the sport. People are greedy and will do whatever it takes to win. 

With the most money riding on the big races and most of the country tuning into the sport during the Triple Crown series, the temptation to cheat can be very high. 

We'd all like to think it doesn't happen, but it does, and sometimes we just never hear about it. The lower-level races are where most of the scum is, as fewer eyes are watching the events taking place. 

Here's to hoping for a clean run in the Preakness Stakes and the rest of the races this season and beyond.