(Dec. 26, 2019) — The Reuters news wire reports, after conducting a survey earlier this month with Ispos, a leading market research firm, that widely publicized racehorse deaths left 62% of respondents with at least a “somewhat less favorable” impression of horse racing in 2019.
Reuters/Ispos conducted their online survey on Dec. 18 and 19, reaching 1,005 American respondents, 741 of whom indicated they knew injured racehorses were sometimes euthanized.
Per Reuters, the survey “found that when horses die from race-related injuries,” 34% of respondents were left with “a lot less favorable” view of the sport, while 28% had a “somewhat less favorable” impression.” Another 37% indicated the deaths did not change their opinion of racing.
Industry response has been widespread, starting at Santa Anita Park, where last spring racing and training were halted for a closer examination into the spate of injuries. Conversation about medications, whips and other reform have resulted.
Reuters also polled its respondents about government involvement in racing. More than 53% said they support federal legislation to regulate drugs, with that a positive for the Horseracing Integrity Act that has gained bi-partisan backing in the U.S. House of Representatives.
31% of respondents said they weren’t sure about federal legislation, while 16% opposed it.
Currently, racing is overseen on a state-by-state basis, while the Horseracing Integrity Act seeks to form a private, independent horse racing anti-doping authority with uniform rules across the country.
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Of course it’s not just about the racehorse killings at Santa Anita — which gets trotted out time and time again for scenarios like these — but the doping, physical abuse, mental abuse and brutal killings at all racetracks across the good ol’ USofA.
We are neutral on the Horseracing Integrity Act. We don’t care if it passes or not. However, there is one bonus for us if it does — horse racing will be regulated under one roof which will make the sport vulnerable, especially when the predictable in-fighting among the big owner groups begins.
Churchill Hill Downs Incorporated are against the Horseracing Integrity Act so it will not become law. They have their own plan, and it’s already well underway.