Poor Masochistic

All Masochistic wants to do is run fast, but for the second time he’s in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The first time was at the start of his career when he was involved in something that might have been dreamed up by that merry band of writers David Milch put together for HBO’s “Luck”.

It had plenty of sexy elements, including jockey strangulation, drugs and a betting coup under the Twin Spires on the First Saturday in May.

Instead of becoming a footnote or the answer to a trivia question, Masochistic went on to become a Grade I stakes winner and established himself as one of the top sprinters in the country.

Early on in this nice run, Samantha Siegel was added to the Los Pollos Hermanos ownership line and Masochistic was transferred to the barn of Ron Ellis.

Everything was going swimmingly until the November 5 Breeder’s Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, where Masochistic turned a big effort but was unable to match strides with the Bob Baffert-trained Defrong and had to settle for second.

With the runner-up check for $255,000, he was poised to become the next California-bred millionaire.

A couple of weeks later, however, rumors started to swirl that the Sprint was the only Breeder’s Cup race where the purse had not been paid out, due to one of the participants having had a positive test.

When Baffert told DRF’s Jay Privman, “All I know is we got our money”, while Ellis said “no comment”, you didn’t have to be Columbo to figure out Masochistic was the horse in question.

Sure enough, this week it was made public that Masochistic did indeed have a positive test and was about to be officially disqualified.

Without getting too far into the weeds, in a stunning twist Ellis revealed that he knew there was a chance, however slight, that the horse could test positive as the result of three out-of-competition tests that were done.

In the brilliant 1974 film “The Gambler”, James Caan has the title role and in one crucial scene has to tell his mother that he owes the mob $44,000 and what they will do to him if he doesn’t pay up soon.

“How did this happen?” she asks incredulously.

“I gambled and I lost,” he answers matter-of-factly.

Tuesday night on Twitter, Samantha Siegel wrote “I left it up to Ron which was sadly a mistake. Personally I was shocked that we weren't automatically scratched.”

We won’t get into the larger debate here, other than to say Ron Ellis gambled and he lost.

And so did Masochistic.


ratzkym@yahoo.com @TashmanMortyS