What the Raced to Death video report by Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel does not mention is what fuels the so-called “sport” of horse racing. In a word — gambling. It is the people who gamble on horse racing who sponsor racehorse abuse, doping, breakdowns and death on the track, and thousands of racehorses at the slaughterhouse.
Without gambling horse racing would not exist. History points to this truth. By the end of 1910 virtually all gambling was outlawed in the United States. Horse racing collapsed.
Then came the Depression. In 1933 the gambling prohibition is repealed, and horse racing returns to the United States. This is when Seabiscuit becomes the hero of a depressed nation that had little to nothing to cheer about. And horse racing begins to thrive once again.
As horse racing escalated in the 1940’s and 50’s almost all states change their laws to allow parimutuel betting on horses which significantly increased the “handle” or how much was bet by the public.
Every wager placed at a racetrack, whether live or simulcast, trickles down from the gambler’s pocketbook to the track and the horsemen involved. Generally, a track’s purse structure comes directly from the projected amount of handle (the total amount bet by the public). A percentage of each race’s total purse is awarded to the highest finishers.
Trainers of course also make money via training fees paid for by the horse’s owner and there’s prize money of course. But this would barely keep them in business, if at all.
So it is “the take” that they train for — a percentage of the multi-million dollar gambling revenues generated by horse racing.
Without gambling horse racing would not be in business, the business of doping, maiming and destroying racehorses on the track and at the slaughterhouse.
If you haven’t seen Raced to Death by HBO’s Real Sports with Brian Gumbel, go here.
US HORSE RACING
“The number of 2019 foals is tracking 3.6% lower at 20,363, compared with a year ago.”
The Bloodhorse reports:
The Jockey Club reported Oct. 3 that 1,630 stallions covered 32,508 mares in North America during 2018, according to statistics compiled through Sept. 26, 2019. These breedings have resulted in 20,363 live foals of 2019 being reported to The Jockey Club on Live Foal Reports.
The Jockey Club estimates the number of live foals reported so far is approximately 90% complete. The reporting of live foals is down 3.6% from last year at this time when The Jockey Club received reports for 21,130 live foals of 2018.
In addition to the live foals of 2019, The Jockey Club also received 2,405 No Foal Reports for the 2019 foaling season. Ultimately, the 2019 registered foal crop is projected to reach 20,800. A crop of 20,800 would mark a fourth straight year the crop has declined in numbers, and it would be the smallest crop since 1966 (20,228).
The number of stallions in 2018 declined 8.3% from the 1,778 reported for 2017 at this time last year, and the number of mares bred declined 5.2% from the 34,288 reported for 2017. Read more »
Anne M. Eberhardt / TheHorse.com.
Inside a Thoroughbred Nursery; The Horse; April 2019
Fox News reports:
DEL MAR, Calif. — A 3-year-old racehorse was euthanized after a training injury in Del Mar, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club confirmed Monday.
The 3-year-old filly, Bri Bri, suffered a serious pelvis injury, officials said. They did not immediately clarify when the injury occurred.
“Del Mar has implemented a series of safety and welfare reforms over the last several racing seasons, including the creation of an independent five-member panel to review all entries,” the club said in a statement.
Which means what exactly, we ask.
She was the 4th horse killed in during Del Mar’s summer season.
On July 29, a three-year old filly broke down during training after a leg injury. Two horses were killed July 18 in a freak accident when a two-year old threw his rider and collided head-on with a three-year old, also during a morning workout.
From the Australian “Death Watch” report at the Horse Racing Kills website:
For a one year period from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018, the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses has collected data from the stewards reports from every state and territory in Australia, compiling a detailed report of the horses who have died in racing and the reasons why – something that is not made available to the public each year by the industry itself.”
The 12 month period of data collection ends on the Horse’s Birthday (August 1) and is released on the first day of Spring (September 1). This is also known as the racing year in Australia.
Their report shows that the total kills for the one year period was 119, or one dead racehorse every three days. 46 of the 119 were 2 yr olds.
It is our view that 2 year olds should not be raced, with good reason. Read on.
by JANE ALLIN
Racing Babies: Are Two-Year Olds Too Young?
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Stages of Bone Growth in the Horse
Part 3: Effects of Training and Racing on the Immature Musculoskeletal System
Part 4: What Racing People Say: Fact or Fiction?
Part 5: The Verdict: Training Regiments – Too Much, Too Soon?
In the Introduction Allin writes:
More than a sport, horse racing is a huge business where moneyed gentry spend their fortunes during yearling sales with the expectation that these horses begin to earn their keep at the tender age of two. It is indeed an unyielding situation in which horses are valued largely for the first three years of their life and wherein their bona fide value is ultimately established.
“Above all the investor’s main objective is to race 2-year olds in preparation for the celebrated 3-year old stakes races after which these adolescent horses will be retired to the breeding shed. It is well recognized that the modern Thoroughbred’s peak earning potential occurs at the age of three with, on average, diminishing return at the age of four and beyond.”
“The current owners want two-year-old racing and I think it’s a pity. I think it’s a pity because it certainly does cause the breakdown of a lot of two year olds.” — Percy Sykes, horse racing industry vet.
An Australian study on the rates of injuries that occur during the training and racing of 2-year olds revealed that 85% suffered at least one incident of injury or disease. See “Racing Babies”, Part 3 by Jane Allin.
• See all our Special Reports, especially those by Jane Allin, on The Horse Fund website »