Galloping hooves on a racetrack. Photographer Unknown.

WashPo OpEd: Horse racing has outlived its time

On March 13, 2020, The Washington Post published an OpEd entitled, “Horse racing has outlived its time”.

We do not know if it has outlived its time, but US horse racing including all breeding operations (which always seems to be left out of racehorse cruelty conversations) needs to be brought to a complete end.

The short view is this. Even with the passage of the US Horse Racing Integrity Act, which would establish an anti doping oversight of sorts, the doping would likely go on but only at a reduced rate. For awhile anyway, until US horse racing managed to take over the reins again itself, then we would back to business as usual. That’s the long view.

“No other accepted sport exploits defenseless animals as gambling chips.”

Our favourite part of WashPo Editorial Board article comes at the very beginning:

IN THE AFTERMATH of federal indictments that charged more than two dozen people in or associated with horse racing in “a widespread, corrupt” doping scheme, the industry rushed to put on a good face. The arrests, said the head of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, show that the system works, and that will have “a cleansing effect” on racing. “Let’s face it. It’s like any sport,” said one leading horse trainer. “We’re no different.”

Let’s be charitable and chalk up such comments to self-delusion, because anyone who thinks horse racing is like any other major sport is lying, ignorant or kidding themselves. No other accepted sport exploits defenseless animals as gambling chips. No other accepted sport tolerates the cruelties that routinely result in the injury and death of these magnificent animals. The rot in horse racing goes deep. It is a sport that has outlived its time.


US horse racing is rotten to the core, and that rot goes deep indeed — and throughout every aspect of it — from the racehorse’s birth to death.

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Recommended Reading

“Breeding by the Numbers” by Jane Allin. PDF, 9 pp »

“Breeding for Trouble by Jane Allin. PDF, 12 pp »

“Forgotten Side of the Salix Debate: The Calcium Connection”
by Jane Allin. PDF, 9 pp »

“Horse Racing in America: A Spectacle of Cheaters, Liars and Dopers”
by Jane Allin. PDF, 16 pp »

See all Fund for Horses’ Special Reports at our website.

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