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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Have a drink of Conundrum Wine...

Tonight, I opened a bottle of Conundrum Wine, the analogy of horse racing. It is something you can get addicted to and fall in love with, but if you get down deep, you find out where the skeletons are. The last few days have certainly been educational, to say the least. I’ve read many blogs, statements, articles and the like discussing what’s wrong with our beloved sport. So many opinions (you know what they say about opinions, everyone’s got one, mainly those at PETA), discussing what we need to do to fix our “broken” game. Is it the horse itself and the inbreeding to create the perfect speed horse that is the primary issue? Is it the type of track that they race on (dirt vs. synthetic)? Are the jockeys inhumane by their (alleged) incessant whipping? Are drugs more prevalent in horse racing than say, our national pastime?

To me, it all just comes down to money. Where will the money come from to curtail (through some sort of governance) the inbreeding, if that’s the real issue? How about drug testing. While New York State has instituted detention barns to deter illegal drugs, the lack of funds restricts the amount of significant drug testing that would be a real deterrent. The real money necessary to do properly institute drug testing is just not available. NYRA is just coming out of bankruptcy. The state regulators just don’t have the money from their cash-strapped governments to properly monitor and test. Where does the industry or others think it will come from? Are synthetic tracks just a band-aid? Sure the current statistics show that they have reduced injuries from slightly over 2 per 1,000 to 1.43….is this statistically significant? Does the synthetic surfaces itself have any negative consequences to horses?

I guess the issues raised are good ones, and most have excellent theories or pose solutions to help us fix our game. But what almost no one to a T mentions in their solutions and reasons is, how are we going to pay for it? And how much is it going to cost to fix?



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