Thoroughbred horse racing, USA.

Racing focuses on drop in owners, registered horses

Cross-posted from The Blood-Horse

    Declines in the number of foals and registered horses have created challenges for the equine industry at large, though the situation has raised another major question: Where have all the owners gone?

    This year’s American Horse Council National Issues Forum was titled, “Where Have All the Horses Gone?”

    During the June 24 forum in Washington, D.C., the question was answered on several levels, but the data also led to more questions.

    Breed registries have largely the same story to tell, and it’s one about fewer horses either through declines in the number of mares bred or the fact horses aren’t registered.

    In any event, racing and other disciplines are feeling the impact that comes from fewer people participating in horse ownership.

    For instance, the Thoroughbred foal crop was more than 51,000, an all-time high, in 1986, but The Jockey Club projects it will fall to about 22,000 in 2014. In turn, the number of individual race starters is projected to drop from 59,300 last year to 44,500 in 2017.

You can continue reading here.

The people who run horse racing in the U.S. continue to come across as blinkered as usual to the legion of wrongs.

But let’s look at this from a purely business sense. If people don’t want your product, make a better product.

Who wants to buy a horse who hasn’t the stamina for training and likely to break down before he or she even makes it into a race. Drugs and other “therapies” only get these horses so far as we have seen. And it is getting worse. Now the two-year olds aimed at the Kentucky Derby and beyond don’t make it to their three-year old seasons.

As Arthur Hancock, the breeder of three Kentucky Derby winners points out: “Chemical horses produce chemical babies. Performance-enhancing drugs must be banned if we are going to survive as an industry and if thoroughbreds are going to survive as a robust breed.”

Many individuals complain that the cost of owning and racing a horse is way over the top.

How about the veterinary bills and expenses for the huge amounts of drugs these horses are reportedly given? Eliminating that pervasive problem would surely begin to restore the health, stamina and longevity of the racehorse and help this flagging industry.

Horse racing still thinks marketing it saying, hey, everything’s okay, horse racing’s still great, is the way to go. Really? You have been saying this for years yet there is no change. Your industry is dying on the vine. Take a look.

    Jockey Club president and chief operating officer Jim Gagliano said. “It’s abundantly clear what we need to do.”

    Gagliano outlined seven things The Jockey Club believes the industry must do: thoughtfully reduce the number of racing days; promote the best races and events; improve use of new marketing tools such as social media; focus on a younger demographic to introduce people to horse racing; increase the value of Thoroughbreds in part by proving their value outside of racing; developing new owners; and reducing risks such as medication abuse or horse neglect that damage the Thoroughbred brand.

How can you promote the value of Thoroughbreds outside of racing when you ruin so many of them? What about the ones who cannot go on to second careers because of what they suffered in their racing careers?

There is a slight glimmer of hope although it is worded in a way that is not particularly encouraging, and that is the last of these mentioned by Gagliano – reducing risks such as medication abuse or horse neglect that damage the Thoroughbred brand.

If they were more concerned about the humane and respectful treatment of racehorses, they wouldn’t have to be so concerned about their brand.

A good start would be to stop ignoring the abuses exposed such as the Peta Asmussen report, facing them and dealing with them. Do they really think that nobody has noticed the horseracing industry has swept this under the carpet?

And here is another aspect of horse racing they continue to ignore: slaughter. One individual commenting on this article by the name of TerryM stated, “Considering how many horses are sent to slaughter every year, surely the drop in numbers is good“.

Guess what the American Horse Council’s stand on horse slaughter is.

Source report »


Tuesday’s Horse

Cohen: The ugly truth about horse racing, May 26, 2014

KHRC finds no smoking gun in Peta undercover sting of racehorse trainer Asmussen, May 23, 2014

Trainers often bear responsibility for overmedicating horses says track veterinarian, May 17, 2014

Horse Racing in America: A Spectacle of Liars, Dopers and Cheaters – Part 1, May 1, 2014

Horse Racing in America: A Spectacle of Liars, Dopers and Cheaters – Part 2, May 1, 2014

Accused horse trainer Asmussen sacks assistant Blasi; industry responds, Mar. 24, 2014

Asmussen, the torture of racehorses and agonizing death of Nehro, Mar. 22, 2014

The end of the line for Monzante: A horse betrayed, Aug. 12, 2013

From Our Website

6 thoughts on “Racing focuses on drop in owners, registered horses”

  1. Thank you all for your comments.

    These are exactly the sentiments that horse racing choose to ignore, year after year. They thought a Triple Crown would woo new people to the game. They know the people who have been around it for the past few decades have seen the sickening abuse of the horses and are fed up, like you say. Well, any new ones the manage to attract won’t stay long. Social media means they will see every single sordid thing that goes on and eventually check out too.

    States hang on to it because they need the revenues.


  2. In my opinion having been in horses both as a professional (equestrian coach, multi-breed, multi-discipline) and an amateur for over a half century, there are two things at work here.

    The first one is a huge widespread very public reason why everything equestrian is disintegrating: people everywhere are sick and tired of cruelty. Cruelty ranging from extreme rodeo horse torture (horse tripping comes to mind) to the horrific abuses at the track (the very public track breakdowns come to mind) to the transport/slaughter issues to the systematic illegal desecration and impending complete elimination of wild horse herds. People are just. Plain. Sick of it.

    Ordinary people, people who might have wanted to get into horses but are so turned off by the daily onslaught of cruelty reporting that they just don’t want to be any part of it – it’s just too painful!

    And, second, among horse people who are about to become FORMER horse people? IMO from people I have talked to and from my own experience, it is the unbelievable levels of greed (overcharging), incompetence and indifference to horses while not being indifferent to MONEY, of equine veterinarians. Actually finding a horse vet who really does care about the horses and charges reasonable rates (not, for example, padding charges on top of duplicate charges on top of redundant charges to the point of ridiculousness) is a real challenge – rapidly becoming an insurmountable challenge.

    I’ve seen quite enough in my half century with horses and thus my personal plan is that when my remaining horses have been allowed to live out their lives free of fear and free of pain, in comfort and in horse-friendly surroundings,and can have a dignified terror-free passing, I will not be involved with horses any longer.

    My family stopped breeding horses over 30 years ago because we saw what was happening to too many horses. We stopped showing horses over 20 years ago when cruelty in competitions and the indifference of the authorities to cruelty issues became too hard to bear.

    IMO the cruelty and money issues are a reflection of the disintegration of our society as a whole and I for one am glad I am old enough now that I won’t be around to see where it all ends up!


  3. I hope the racing industry goes belly up. I think part of this is that the numbers of the public attending races is going down at the tracks all over the US. This type of decline is what shut down all of the dog tracks except in Florida I believe that’s the last dog track.

    The younger generation really isn’t interested in race horses, for one thing most of them have been raised in track homes, condos or apts and they are more interested in their iphones or on line gaming. Once the older generation which were and are the followers of racing are gone I think it will die out and disappear as a sport. You can’t have a sport if no one goes to watch it.


  4. Good….now I hope that ALL reg. breeds see a drop in foal crops! There are horses right here that need to be taken care (nurse mares ‘industry’ for one) that hopefully will drop right off the planet. Slaughter is a for profit business that only is to get rid of horses to make a little MONEY doing it! It’s been a ‘dumping ground system’ … as long as it’s available they will continue to ‘dump’. In the racing world perhaps the ones in the industry are ‘waking’ up but more important those that enjoy watching/betting are hearing the TRUTH of the TB or QH race horses. When so many are at auctions every WEEK in many cases horrible condition – enough is enough!


  5. My first thought was, “Good! Fewer TB’s going to slaughter.” If memory serves me correctly, over the past 10 (?) years, the number of foal registrations and the number of TBs identified in the slaughter pipeline were almost equal.

    Let’s pray breeders are FINALLY waking up and will start going for quality over quantity. Then if the other knot-heads would get on board….


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