UK/FILE: HORSE RACING: Dettori says he took cocaine and feels like Lance Armstrong
- Title: UK/FILE: HORSE RACING: Dettori says he took cocaine and feels like Lance Armstrong
- Date: 16th May 2013
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - 2012) (REUTERS) MORE VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF FRANCE GALOP
- Reuters ID: LVAETTBBOK0O828AMNW84VA9SKK2
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Duration: 00:00:06
- Topics: Sports
- Story Text: Italian jockey Frankie Dettori has revealed he took cocaine before a positive dope test in France last September that brought him a six months ban.
In an interview with Channel Four television which was broadcast on Thursday (May 16), the British-based jockey - one of the biggest names in flat racing - was asked why he took cocaine and in what circumstances.
"I failed a test for cocaine and obviously it's been very well documented by the press," Dettori said. "It's something that I'm very ashamed and embarrassed and paid a big price for it. I spent six months not doing the thing that I love, racing.
"Like any other human being who has done it before. Basically I happened to be in a situation with some people and then you can't say no because if you feel low or perhaps you want to escape the reality of life and things were going bad, I was depressed and I guess a moment of weakness and I fell for it and I only have myself to blame. I can't blame anybody else."
Dettori, who won all seven races in a single afternoon at Ascot in 1996, said he was so ashamed and embarrassed when the news broke and he could not believe how big the story was.
"I was the main news of the day," he said. "And then the second news was (Barack) Obama was re-elected for (a) second term. There was a war in Syria and there was 2.5 million people with no water in New York and I was the main news that I failed a drugs test and I thought 'my God'."
The interview was Dettori's first since he was suspended from Dec. 19 by the French racing authority France Galop after the positive test for a previously unidentified substance at Longchamp. The ban expires on May 19.
Dettori will return as a freelance rider after it was announced in October that he would no longer be a retained jockey for Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation after an 18-year association.
Having fallen out of favour with Godolphin after trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was appointed in 2010, Dettori accepted an offer to rider for Camelot - owned by Godolphin's rival Coolmore Stud, at last year's Arc de Triomphe.
"I didn't want to leave, trust me I did not want to leave," Dettori said. "I was the happiest person in the world but in a way they forced my hand to leave."
Since Dettori left Goldophin, Al Zarooni was disqualified for eight years by the British Horseracing Authority in April for doping racehorses in a scandal that caused serious embarrassment to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Eleven horses trained by Al Zarooni, 37, in Newmarket in southern England for owner Sheikh Mohammed tested positive for anabolic steroids, including ethylestrenol and stanozolol - the steroid used by disgraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Al Zarooni, who won the Dubai World Cup - the world's richest horse race for Godolphin in 2012 with Monterosso, as well as two English Classics - the St Leger and 1,000 Guineas, admitted administering prohibited substances to four other horses in his care.
The BHA said the 15 horses Emirati Al Zarooni admitted doping, including leading 1,000 Guineas contender Certify, have been banned from racing for six months.
"All the hard work, not just me, the whole stable (had) done, it's been ruined by one person," Dettori said. "He's (Mahmood Al Zarooni) ruined my career to start and now he's ruined Godolphin. When I say ruined he's just given him a very, very bad reputation. What is intriguing is like when you train 300 horses why do you need to do that?"
Despite the scandal and Dettori's own positive drugs test, the Italian believes there is not a drug culture in horse racing and compared himself to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
"It's very hard for me to say but I can guarantee you we get tested like the cyclists," Dettori said. "I mean random tests all the time and look at my example I got caught so I don't think so (that there is a drug culture).
"(We) go through so many tests but I never had a problem with that but it's amazing that I feel like Lance Armstrong, they come and knock on my door at any time of the day."
Dettori returns to race-riding on Monday (May 20) and he said he will only feel fully settled in again when he wins a race.
"As soon as get my first winner I'll be away," Dettori added. "I haven't done one (a flying dismount of the back of a horse to celebrate a victory) for a while so hopefully I've still got it."
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