Horse Racing: How sound is my bet? It’s not.

Written by VIVIAN GRANT

Eight Belles breaks both of her front ankles and is euthanized on the track at Churchill Downs after finishing 2nd in the Kentucky Derby, so punters still collected. This, however, is often not the case, with horses breaking down during races or running poorly and finishing out of the money.

In the U.S., racehorses are bred for speed and little else. The small percentage of horses bred for racing who make it to the track are commonly given injury-masking or enhancing drugs and raced either to death, or to a condition where they can never be anything other than a yard ornament. Many who die end their days in a slaughter house.

There are many wonderful people in the horse racing industry who care, but they are as impotent as a geriatric stallion, and have made little headway in reforming their sport and protecting the horses who perform for it.

The final nail in the coffin to horse racing may be driven in by the gamblers, who are finally, at long last, asking, “How sound is my bet?” The answer is, it isn’t. It cannot be when you have no idea as to the truth of the condition of the horses running in the races you are betting on.

In a blog post entitled, “A Beautiful Sport, an Ugly Industry,” written by JOE MEAGHER for The Rail in the New York Times, he states:

Which of us studying The Daily Racing Form is privy to the magic piece of unpublished betting information? That would be: which horse got the cobra venom/milkshake/thing-with-no-name this morning?

It’s not just drugs. Nearly as awful is the industry’s refusal to punish habitual offenders with appropriate penalties. You lose a race that you bet on, and it turns out that the winner was saddled by a guy who could be in Leavenworth but is instead plotting his next “everybody does it” assault on your betting account.

Many advocates would like to see horse racing die, and are trying to bring about its end based on the inhumanity of it. This has fallen, for the most part, on the deaf ears of the power brokers within horse racing. Horse lovers, however, may not have much longer to wait. The betting element, an integral part of horse racing, is steadily losing confidence, and when the bettors disappear, so will horse racing.

4 thoughts on “Horse Racing: How sound is my bet? It’s not.”

  1. Vivian – I worked for a boarding ranch for a number of years; the primary focus was Arabians. The first thing I learned was Breed-specific snobbery. Next, I learned that if Horse did not ribbon at a show or birth a phenomenal exception, Horse was soon put up for sale or donation – usually a fast track to oblivion.
    I learned owners/breeders bespoke of their Horse’s progenitors in reverent & holy tones as if it were a magic mantra, ignoring the reality & actuality of the Horse standing in front of them and his or her unique character and traits.
    Many of the Arabians I groomed for were ‘hot’ – some amusing, some dangerous; it was both their strength & their downfall. I learned most people are too busy to ‘listen’ to what their Horse is trying to tell them. With hundreds of thousands of Horses of all breeds available, it’s just simpler to find a Horse that does what you tell it rather than take the time to become a partner & companion.
    And the expectation of breeding that one perfect Million Dollar Horse looms on the horizon, beckoning.
    I learned there is no Horse I have met that doesn’t have something appealing to offer. I firmly believe Horse slaughter proponents are the biggest contributors to the wealth of animals available for slaughter; there are no safeguards or legal impediments to compel responsible breeding. And no matter how much I might wish it, morality cannot be legislated.

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    1. You are right, Lisa. You can not regulate morality. But you can regulate breeding, and as hard as they may fight that, we can hound them until the ends of the earth and expose them for the greedy, arrogant and vain horse murderers they are, until something is done.

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  2. Why is it humans think they can improve & better God and Nature?
    Arabians – desert-born and bred to be impervious to heat, wind & sand, small, fierce & powerful, now bred to look like giant Fairyland creatures & nervously dance as though their feet were on fire;
    Thoroughbreds – descendants of Arabians, tall, athletic, noble & durable if allowed to reach their majority, with courage, an impish heart & a love of competition – now genetically bastardized for not what is best about them but what is most expeditious for the track;
    The Quarter Horse – the zenith of knowledge & loyalty, strength of character & of bone, and the first & most numerous to end up in the Slaughterhouse trashcan.
    Shame on them all, for their thinly concealed contempt of the Horse, for their inability to view them as anything other than barn or ranch decor, for their wealth to waste and the lives they condemn and the ethical emptiness that allows them to view these animals as ANYTHING but Precious.
    My Arabian Queen is 4 generations out of the Desert; she is 24 years old, and when she goes Home, you will not likely see her type again. She is Old School Arabian – stocky, heat-resistant and the Gallop is her raison d’tre.
    My Gentleman Thoroughbred was raced as a 2 year old, with too much flexibilty in his bones and cartilage to be an endurance runner. Crippled on the track, he was left to his own devices for a year, then came to live with me. He is the epitome of the Thoroughbred – or what a Thoroughbred should be – a Labrador puppy in an 1100 pound body. At 21 years old, he is unbound by age or circumstance.
    My Friends – my gifts.
    Are these the simplistic meanderings of a hopelessly impractical old woman in love with the ideology that animals, and particularly Horses, DO matter?
    Ask me if I care.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. We often hear about the destructive breeding practices relating to Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, but not the Arabian. Do you think this is related to the Arabian breeders now backing horse slaughter, the fact that they are ruining the breed meaning people are not buying them?

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