“Do Right By The Horse”. I hear this constantly from the thoroughbred farm my husband and I operate in Southern California. I hear it daily in conversations with trainers at the track. I hear it from our clients who want only the best care for their horses while in training or rehabilitation. At what point does the media, the legislators, the public, miss the point – these horses are treated like royalty, better than most animals and children.
Our farm specializes in breaking, training, and rehabilitating thoroughbreds. Our clients show up with carrots, apples, and gourmet horse cookies, and shower them with attention. Our vets treat them with top care at all hours. Our yearlings play and chase, our horses in training are like a kid with candy when they see a saddle heading towards them. Make no mistake. Just as certain dogs are bred as hunters, thoroughbred horses are bred to run, to compete. They are happiest when they are prepping for a race, it’s their mission in life. It’s been the Sport of Kings for many centuries for a reason, with a King being the first jockey.
The sudden onslaught of anti-horseracing sentiment has hit a fever pitch as the traditional summer horseracing season gets under way. Whether it’s unstable track conditions, caused by severe weather at Santa Anita, which caused the deaths of several horses, or whether it’s a tragic accident caused by a loose horse at Del Mar. The terrorists, who masquerade as activists, want to use those excuses to try to end horse racing as we know it today.
The truth of the matter is, that horse racing in America has never been more popular. Through the internet, off-track betting, or on-site at big race days, more people watch and wager on horse racing than ever in the history of the sport. A case in point, the 2019 opening weekend at Saratoga handled more money than any opening weekend ever in the history of the track. This at a time when the activists have bombarded the general public with false information about race tracks and the horse racing industry as a whole. It’s about time that those of us who love horse racing, love the sport, love these amazing animals, stand up and be counted. If you, as a racing fan, think that these activists will just go away as time goes on, you are sorely mistaken. They’ll be standing on street corners at the entrances of race tracks all over America this summer. Most importantly, they care to pretend about the safety of thoroughbreds when, in fact, they only care about getting their face before the cameras.
Anyone who has ever been on the back side of a race track, worked at a race track, or seen a groom or a hot walker in action, knows that these animals are given top care.
Those who are entrusted with the everyday care of these animals, take great pride in their work, they are the unsung heroes of the game, instead of being constantly blindsided by the activist community, they should be celebrated for their unrelenting commitment to the athletes they care for, and the horses they love.
Now word comes to us out of Los Angeles that some misguided, public official, wants to set in motion legislation that would not allow horse racing or an OTB in the city of LA. Funny thing is, though there is no horse racing or OTB’s in the city of LA. The suggestive legislation is nothing more than a publicity stunt by somebody who has no understanding of the horse racing industry and the impact it has on lives and families throughout America. Why would any legislative body entertain the thought of banning a sport that provides 122 billion worth of annual economic impact in America. As stewards of the horse racing industry, we have an obligation to stand up and be counted, to drown out the terrorist cries and let our voices be heard. So let’s do that – let’s be that positive, vibrant, voice that pushes horse racing to the finish line. The next time a stranger asks you if any horses died today, look them in the eye and say, “I don’t know, but 3.5 million children are investigated each year from abuse and neglect reports, and 1600 children actually die. And PETA euthanised 1,798 animals last year. Perhaps, there are bigger horses to chase.