BY ANDREW COHEN
There are essentially three types of people in horse racing.
There are the crooks who dangerously drug or otherwise abuse their horses, or who countenance such conduct from their agents, and who then dare the industry to come catch them. Then there are the dupes who labor under the fantasy that the sport is broadly fair and honest. And there are those masses in the middle—neither naive nor cheaters but rather honorable souls—who know the industry is more crooked than it ought to be but who still don’t do all they can to fix the problem.
The first category, the cheaters, are a small, feral minority still large enough to stain the integrity of the sport for everyone else. The second category, the innocents, also a small group, are more or less hopeless—if they haven’t figured out by now they are being wronged they likely never will. So it is from the third category of horsemen and horsewomen, the far-too-silent majority, the good people who see wrong but won’t give their all to right it, where serious reform must come if the sport is to survive and thrive.
And that’s why exposés about the abuse of racehorses, like the one posted last week by Joe Drape in The New York Times, are so important. They don’t aim to offer salvation to the unholy or to rouse the ignorant from their slumber. They speak directly instead to the many good and honest people in horse racing whose consciences are still in play. And they say to those respectable people, in essence, “You are fooling only yourself if you think the whole world isn’t aware of and repulsed by what nasty business you allow to go on inside your sport.”
. . . . the simple headline of the Times’ piece [Peta accuses two trainers of cruelty] crystallizes the story in a way that resonates with the outside world. Cruelty. No one beyond the world of horse racing cares if industry insiders cheat each other. But plenty of people beyond the world of horse racing cares if the animals at the heart of the sport are treated cruelly. Horse racing simply cannot survive if the general public believes racehorses are abused or neglected. I have no idea if Asmussen and Blasi are guilty of anything and I accuse them here of nothing. My point is that it doesn’t really matter. The whole industry is guilty of letting it get this far. Read full article by Cohen >>
In case you missed the video, here it is again.
Twinspired works out at Churchill Hill Downs in preparation for the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel/AP.