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With the Preakness right around the corner, I felt it was important to revisit why horse racing has come to life and death finishes.  Is this just a refined version of cockfighting?  Not to say it has come down to the level of Dog fighting and the likes of Mike Vick, but are we better than this?
michael vick_dog fighting

Originally posted to ddonar on Fri May 16, 2008 at 11:58 AM PDT.


Is horse racing...

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| 60 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Out of curiosity: (7+ / 0-)

    How many thoroughbred horses have you personally cared for? How many stalls have you mucked? How many feed tubs have you filled? How many times have you run your hand down the leg of a filly who's just a little lame, feeling for any sign of heat?

    I guess what I'm saying is: How much do you know about horses, and racing? Because I've done all of the above things, and I love horses, and I love racing.

    "Remember all the movies, Terry, that we'd go see / trying to learn how to walk like the heroes we thought we had to be." - The Boss

    by turnover on Fri May 16, 2008 at 12:16:39 PM PDT

    •  Um, hello? (0+ / 0-)

      Are you going to answer my questions? Or are you busy on PETA's website looking for a response?

      "Remember all the movies, Terry, that we'd go see / trying to learn how to walk like the heroes we thought we had to be." - The Boss

      by turnover on Fri May 16, 2008 at 12:27:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There has always been two questions with regard (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      turnover, Jbeaudill, VegDana

      to horse racing.

      Is it ethical to use 2 year old horses?

      And, what happens to them when their careers are over. I know there are people that adopt them, but certainly not all of them.

      But on the other hand, I know some trainers and vets that work thoroughbred race horses and do everything in their power to treat them well and with respect.

      They are glorious animals. I'm all for the sport, but closely watched for abuse.

      PS: I do all of the things on your list on a daily bases but mostly for Arabian endurance and mixed breed trail horses :o)

      •  The Derby is a race of three year olds (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pescadero Bill, Pager

        even that can be too young.  Man O War did not race in the Derby because his owners felt they were racing horses too young.  

        Sadly, what happens to race horses who aren't winners, is they often go to the slaughter house.  There are racehorse rescue groups but there are not enough of them around.  The rescued horses need experienced riders because they have been trained to go fast.  They are also high spirited so that presents a challenge to many folks.  

        I am an animal lover.  I rescue sled dogs and domestic cats.  I also love horse racing.  Every year, I throw a Derby Party at our home.  We have mint juleps, southern food, Derby Pie and some bluegrass musicians.  It is a great party.  This year's party was saddened by the tragedy with Eight Belles.  Big Brown is an impressive horse, I hope he wins the Triple Crown but I know it is not likely.  He has the Preakness which I think he will win, then on to the Belmont and the Belmont is tough.

        •  Horses (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandy on Signal, Jbeaudill

          I have no problem with the concept of racing horses.  I just believe that it has gotten out of control.  The gambling aspect also puts in the realm of professional wrestling and boxing...the results cannot be taken seriously.   Of course just my criticism may evoke the mafia to break my legs.

          There needs to be better standards.  Maybe it's best for the sport to have these tragedies play out on national T.V.  It opens up everyone's eyes to the reality that this isn't just about men in white suits and women in funny hats with mint julips.

        •  The Preakness field is a weak one. I (3+ / 0-)

          suspect Big Brown will break from the gate and lead the field from start to finish; he's more of a distance horse I believe and I think stands a great chance of also winning the Belmont [1.5 miles].

          In youth we learn, in age we understand.

          by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 01:16:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  only see Gayego as a contender (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            from the Derby.  What happened to a few of the other Derby horses like even 3rd place St. Denis of Cork or Pyro or Colonel John?

            I am glad to hear he is a distance horse.  How many in the last few years have won the first two?  I remember Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, and War Emblem, there has to be several more.  Would love to see Big Brown win it.  

            •  Agree, only Gayego, at least from my (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandy on Signal

              review as presented in LA Times today; and the rest are all longshots and unknowns.  None of the breeding lines jump out at me and I'm sort of a nut on that aspect. In this race, as in the Derby, every single entry is from the Native Dancer line, which, again, I find remarkable. No Tod Pletcher horses entered either.
                   The Derby was the only time Gayego has ever finished out of the money; he came in 17th out of 20.
              I'm surprised not to see Denis of Cork or any of the other horses you cited but I suspect they'll be entered in the Belmont. Yes, I too would love to see Big Brown win Preakness and Belmont; we are way overdue for a TC winner!

              In youth we learn, in age we understand.

              by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 05:12:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Very good questions (0+ / 0-)

        to which I don't know the answer.  My personal feeling is that it is unethical to use an animal for our entertainment.  And let's face it, that is what horse racing is all about.  But since I know nothing about horse racing itself and those that participate in it, I'm certainly not going to judge them.  

        I am a bit surprised by some of the other more hostile comments directed at opposition to horse racing though.  

        •  My experience has been that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the horses love it.

          Like a hound chasing a raccoon, or a border collie herding sheep, it's what they've been bred to do. And in all cases it has always been to some extent for human entertainment. Even the sheep dogs and the herding contests that have been held for almost as long as the dogs have been around.

          Animals do have a natural competitive nature.

    •  I'm not the diarist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      turnover, Jbeaudill

      but I, like you, have cared for horses and loved them all my life.

      There IS something to be said about horses that are not cared for properly, worked too had or left to languish...whether they are thoroughbreds or not.

      I've seen some gnarly stuff when it comes to care/lack of care for IS heartbreaking.  

      "Ipstho Phacto"...daffy duck

      by trinityfly on Fri May 16, 2008 at 12:44:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Curious (0+ / 0-)

      I know enough that it has destroyed more than just animals, but deadbeats who gamble their mortgages and family on this "sport".  Take the greed out and maybe you don't exploit 2 year olds...and I mean both horses and children.

  •  humane ??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If I had to choose between being a regular eating chicken and spend my entire life cooped which is about four months til slaughter and being a proud gamecock given the best of care and being able to at least fight for my life ,I'll take the 6-8 years of being a Gamecock ,I f you beleive that performance animals arent pampered to the nth degree ,thoroughbreds ,gamecocks ,etc you simply do not know of what you speak and have been listening to anti-propaganda ,Also if you eat chicken or use animal products in any manner you are a damned hypocrite

  •  It's none of the above (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal, JFinNe

    There's no easy pat answer. turnover's post illustrates the paradox. People in the sport, really do love the horses. They aren't bred to break down. But there are many things that could be changed to improve the statistics, and ultimately decisions are driven by money.

    It's not like cockfighting at all. One only has to go faster, the other does not have to be killed.

    •  Not bred to break down, true, that is not (0+ / 0-)

      the intent, but all 20 horses in the Derby were members of the Native Dancer family. And as in the WSJ today:

      This bloodline has produced a long string of champions, but also many horses whose racing careeers, or lives, have been cut short by injuries.

      The Native Dancer family is known for having leg injuries and hoof issues.

      In youth we learn, in age we understand.

      by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 01:20:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Native Dance is now what, 6-8th generation in (0+ / 0-)

        some of these horses? So you could also say that they all have Nearco bloodlines which then break down, for example. And Native Dancer (like Nearco) is in so many pedigrees, that there are many with that bloodline, that don't break down, too.

        Having said that, my retired OTTB has no Native Dancer and retired sound and is now 22. And sound.

        •  Plus, 19 of them didn't break down (so far as we (0+ / 0-)

          know), so I'm not sure that argument really holds water.

          •  19 didn't break down, true, but we don't (0+ / 0-)

            know the condition of those 19 either, at least not in detail and it seems to me that we do read more often about hoof trouble, also breathing difficulties, than in the past.  But I'm looking at those aspects as an outsider and a horse fan, so my scope, I'm sure, is far more limited than yours.
                I don't know about Native Dancer's generational progeny in terms of numbers, it could be more than 6-8 but I would say at least that.

            In youth we learn, in age we understand.

            by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 05:17:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  As one who has loved horses all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal, eXtina

    her life, I'd place the blame on the trainers and breeders here. The thoroughbred breed is now far too inbred with the result we have massive horses on tooth-pick legs.  I don't object to horseracing but I do object, strongly, to those trainers who dope their horses.  I believe the trainer of Big Brown has been repeatedly cited for doping his horses including using anesthetics to mask pain. In Europe horses only begin to race at an older age and any sort of drugging is not allowed.  Unless I'm wrong, American horseracing permits the use of diuretics which I believe should be banned.  I'd like to see the so-called 'sport of kings' show more respect for these magnificent animals by cleaning up their act in terms of training, breeding and drug use.  BTW: I do think Big Brown will be a Triple Crown winner...if he lives long enough.
        Eight Belles death was heartbreaking to me, she was a splendid alert filly and watching her prior to the race was a pleasure to the eye.  As a 17-hand filly however, I have to wonder also if she had been given steriods? That height is nearly the size of a draft Clydesdale.
        Thanks for your diary; I'm glad to see the topic brought into the Kos-sphere.

    In youth we learn, in age we understand.

    by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 12:45:13 PM PDT

    •  she was 17 hands? (0+ / 0-)

      OMG, I wonder how that happened.

      •  Yes, 17 hands, and think what her genes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandy on Signal

        would be worth had she lived.  There is a good article in today's WSJ re horse-owner, Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson wineries and his interest in bringing new blood into the thoroughbred breed.  He is apparently strongly disliked by the Kentucky breeding clique.

        In youth we learn, in age we understand.

        by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 01:13:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Steroids will increase muscle mass but not the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        size of the skeleton. 17h at 3 is big but no unheard of. What should be unheard of is such a large young horse doing anything at all other than grazing in a field of grass till it's 5yo.

    •  Ruffian was also a pretty tall filly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I believe she was 17 hands or close to it. She was certainly taller than Foolish Pleasure, who was 15 IIRC. I remember watching the match race live when she broke both sesamoid bones in her right leg. It was heartbreaking.

      Don't trust any UID over [insert current highest number here].

      by pattyp on Fri May 16, 2008 at 01:18:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know Ruffian's size but I do (0+ / 0-)

        remember her.  It just seems to me, as one who has watched horse racing since about age 6 or 8, that the incidence of mishaps, euthanasia etc have markedly increased in the last ten years of so.

        In youth we learn, in age we understand.

        by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 01:23:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Diuretics (lasix) are forbidden in the Belmont (0+ / 0-)

      but allowed in the Derby and Preakness. Coupled with the extra distance of the Belmont, that makes it incredibly difficult for the horses, and why there has been no Triple Crown winner for over two decades.

      And because Big Brown is a 'distance' and has already won the Derby, this should be the first year in a long time for a real TC possibility. Unless of course he can't run with diuretics.

      •  Just studying his confirmation pre-Derby (0+ / 0-)

        then watching his performance in Derby, my first thought was: I think we have a TC winner here. First time I have felt so confident of that in a long time.
        Question to you eXtina: Why are diuretics forbidden in Belmont but not in the other two TC races? What about 'Bute?'  

        In youth we learn, in age we understand.

        by Jbeaudill on Fri May 16, 2008 at 05:02:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Were you aware that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emmasnacker, turnover, martydd

    the body of your diary has gone missing?  All that survived are two cartoons and a poll.  An error in submission, perhaps?

  •  Big Brown - on his way to the Triple Crown (0+ / 0-)

    I think this is going to be it, first time in 30 years. He may not be a great horse but it is a terrible field competing agains him this year. And the long distance of the Belmont is apparently his specialty, whereas for all previous contenders of recent memory it was their Waterloo (?)

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