The Darker Side of Horse Racing

horse race

Horse racing is a sport that involves horses competing against one another over a distance. The sport has different rules for flat races and jumps races but, by and large, they all test speed and stamina to some degree. The most prestigious races are the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Japan Cup, Epsom Derby and the Kentucky Derby. In addition to these major races there are hundreds of other events throughout the world each year.

While the sport is a popular one for gamblers, it is also an expensive hobby to maintain a stable and train the horses. There are few other hobbies in America that cost so much to participate in, and many people do not have the disposable income necessary to compete with the top breeders for the best horses. The industry is currently facing declining attendance. Grandstands that once held thousands of people now hold dozens, and the number of races has dropped precipitously since the 1970s. The decline has been attributed to a combination of factors, including the rise of other gambling activities, a loss of interest in horse racing among young would-be fans and a series of scandals that highlight the industry’s darker side.

In the United States, the spate of horse deaths at Santa Anita in 2021 led to a rethinking of safety protocol, and the sport has already begun to see improvements. New rules include a mandatory necropsy after every race, as well as a review of the incident by experts to determine what might have been done differently to prevent the injury. The sport also has a public database that catalogs equine injuries and fatalities.

The governance of the sport varies from nation to nation, but generally the Jockey Club governs long-term policy and government agencies oversee regulatory efforts. In some nations state racing commissions control horseracing, while in others the government owns and operates the tracks. The sport is a major source of employment for many citizens, and the sport is an important economic driver in some areas.

While there are a large number of people who enjoy the sport and want to keep it vibrant, there are also crooks who dangerously drug and abuse their animals and dupes who labor under the fantasy that the industry is broadly honest. In addition to these crooks, there are the masses in the middle who know that the sport is more crooked than it should be but do not do all they can to fix the problems.

The crooked nature of the sport has also been revealed by investigations by animal rights groups such as PETA and others. These investigations have exposed abusive training practices for young horses, doping and the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in foreign countries. The media’s coverage of these issues has fueled growing public disillusionment with the sport and may be contributing to its decline. A recent study found that news outlets with a left-leaning audience are more likely to cover political stories that frame the election as a competitive game, and this coverage may be promoting cynicism toward politicians and their ideas.