The Sun Sentinel Ripped Off Our Calder Investigation
The only problem: New Times already wrote that exact story. Four months ago.
Compare the two articles, starting with the Sun Sentinel's supposed expose.
Florida's failure to curb the illicit drugging of horses threatens the animals' health and the integrity of results in the state's horse-racing industry, the Sun Sentinel has found.The article focuses on a particularly shady trainer named Kirk Ziadie. It also contains interviews with Richard Sams --former director of the UF laboratory that tests horse samples -- and Calder vice president John Marshall.
Antiquated state laws, lenient penalties and a system that tolerates repeat offenders and sometimes leaves violators unpunished for years have caused Florida to fall behind in policing an industry that has come under pressure from U.S. congressional leaders to tighten rules on drugs and medications used on horses.
|Michael E. Miller|
I also spent several weeks at Calder, learning about Ziadie and his return to the race track. I requested hundreds of pages of state records and spent two months putting together the story of how Ziadie sneaked into barns in the middle of the night to give his horses illicit cocktails of performance enhancing drugs. In the process, he made a small fortune for himself and horse owners.
My story, Dark Horse: Cheaters Prosper At Calder Race Course, concluded:
Larger blame also lies with the State of Florida, which has some of the laxest regulations in the country. With deliberately outdated testing techniques, fines that are a pittance compared to the prizes for winning dirty, and criminal charges completely unheard of, Florida practically encourages cheating at the track.In other words, the two investigations are extremely similar, with New Times' clearly paving the way. Yet the Sun Sentinel didn't mention my reporting. When we sent an email to reporter Amy Shipley and her editor, Dana Banker, and eventually got a terse reply from Banker:
Amy Shipley's reporting on this story was 100 percent independent. We stand behind her and this article completely.
|Michael E. Miller|
|Kirk Ziadie poses with his winning horse, Sole Runner|
As for Calder, its season ended on Friday. Unsurprisingly, Ziadie finished as one of the track's top trainers yet again. Among those whose horses started at least 50 races, he had the best win rate -- an impressive 31 percent -- with 16 wins, 32 money finishes, and $245,024 earnings.
Overall, his horses won $750,409 at various tracks last year. Not bad for a guy whose horses have failed drug tests nearly 50 times.
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