Friday, January 2, 2009

Richard (Dick) Mandella and his detractor(s)

Way back on June 26, 2008, I wrote a locally-focused blog post that was a follow-up to a Sharon Cobb post about horse racing deaths.

To achieve the local focus to make it suitable for my Empoprise-IE blog, I concentrated on Richard (Dick) Mandella.

The post generated no comments until December 27, 2008, when (possibly as a result of Google searches on "Dick Mandella") it got two comments (from unverified users Julio and Jesus) in the course of twenty-five minutes. Comments from unverified users James, Bob, and Paul followed in the next few days. I have no way of knowing whether these are one person or five, but they all dealt with similar topics - the nature of trainers in general, and Mandella in particular. Here's Paul on Mandella:

He can be mean, condescending and arrogant. look at video -thoroughbred racing stables, treat Becky Wysmans poorly on HRTV interview. two faced.

And here's what Bob said:

Mexican backside workers and their deplorable living conditions have been investigated by state govts. much to the chagrin of race track operators (claiming its not their responsibility since the mexicans work for independent trainers), and trainers who pay them very little to maximaze their own profits through purses won and day rates. Millions are spent on each horse, yet the very people who love and care for them are paid little, live in cinderblock tack rooms, and disgusting bathrooms with used toilet paper strewn everywhere. A far cry from luxurious Turf Club them the rich owners see and the public see on the network/cable TV show propaganda. Trainers including the one featured above need to fully apprise the public/owners of their employees, their pay/stakes, their living conditions etc....many are smooth talkers who say one thing and do something else.

I thought I'd see if there were other Mandella criticisms in the blogosphere, and here's what I found. From a Louisville interview of "MJ":

Nick Zito is a guy, like Dick Mandella, I've always had a lot of (regard) for because they've been good to me whenever we'd spoke.

And from a betting blog:

One of the trainers who took [Richie] Migliore in and gave him choice mounts was Hofmanns, who put him on a fast, talented young colt named Desert Code. The colt and Mig hit it off right from the start.

“I’m so happy for Mr. Hofmanns, to see him get rewarded for all the hard work,” Carmela [Migliore] said. “He’s one of the honest guys and he, along with Bill Spawr, believed in Richie and put him on all his horses. Dick Mandella also helped Richie get started. So, if we had to trade [the horse] Artie Schiller [whom Richie couldn't ride earlier because of an accident] for Desert Code I’d gladly take it, and maybe that’s why Richie had to back out of my driveway that day. Maybe there was a plan with the racing gods after all.”

Of course, these people are fron the frontside, not the backside. But there are people who care about the backside workers, as this article attests:

Backside workers’ lives can be rugged and dusty. Their work can be hard and sometimes dangerous.

They are hardy souls, but they are not immune to illness and other health ailments.

That’s why the new Kentucky Racing Health Services Center has been a godsend for racetrack workers since it opened last spring. The center, located near Churchill Downs, is a joint initiative between the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Racing Health and Welfare Fund Inc. (KRHWF), a nonprofit foundation created by uncashed parimutuel tickets from thoroughbred racetracks in Kentucky.

The pilot program, created by a $65,520 gift from the foundation, has become a vital source of free medical services for eligible racetrack workers and their families.

U of L junior and senior nursing and nurse practitioner students and second-year medical students staff the center through a university grant.

Not top-rated medical care, since it's students and not graduates, but for some it's the first medical care they've received in their lives.

Unfortunately, the title of the article was "Partnership helps backside workers stay healthy as a horse."

As they say, they shoot horses, don't they?

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