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I am reading Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch. Early on I had a chuckle at the passage that relayed a neat fact from the publication of the day: In 1910 out of 50,000 horses, 500 showed a profit for their owners.

My question: In the 2000's when did a switch go off and suddenly we are expected to make money as horse owners? It is all I read about with this ADW nonsense. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I have had horses since I was a kid. I know that this is not a business to make money in. You know that, I know that, we all should know that. It is a hobby business that vets, feed men, trainers, drivers/jockeys and others make money at. We don't and never will. Why within the last few years did this delusion start? When were we all expected to trip over hundred dollar bills on the way to the fridge for a snack? Who started this rumour?

I read the excellent post at HANA today. It compares the postage stamp business in something like 1840 in England. It cleverly shows a parallel to racing. Great read.

My question: Why when we look at the racing business can we always to relate it to a different business that fixed itself a century in a half ago?

By the way, I bought a Horseplayers Association hat at their online store. I am thinking of buying the boxer shorts, but I don't want to scare gaggles of women and children, so I will probably go with a baseball shirt.


Jessica said…
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed "Crazy Good." I knew almost nothing of harness racing history or Dan Patch before and came away with newfound appreciation for both and with more interest in the learning about the sport now. I did find the ending sad, though ...
Pull the Pocket said…
That's great Jessica. I don't know any thoroughbred person who read it.

I have been lax in my reading, but so far the research is top-notch and I love period pieces in the first place, so that has been enjoyable.
Allan said…
It was a great book. I hardly can get through books like this one, but this one I got through and found it entertaining.

As you were saying, owning a horse is basically an ego thing; if you make money, great. However, if you don't love the sport (game), there are better things to invest in. This is not due to the current state of harness racing; it has always been this way in Dan Patch's day, the glory days of harness racing in the 60's and now.
Anonymous said…
I have been wondering the same thing for several years. When I first got in the sport, as a groom many years ago, the owners all seemed to enjoy the "sport" of racing. However in recent years, (in the time since I obtained my trainers license)it has become all about making money. The horses are viewed as commodities not flesh and blood. It has really caused an internal struggle for those of us that got into the sport for the horse (never did I dream a trainer could make six figures a year, like some do know) because the dollar always seems to trump what is right for the horse. Unless the trainer owns the horse themselves which that idea has caused a whole other set of issues to arise. Any answers, because I love the sport, not so much so the "business" of horse racing.
Regards, Rebecca
Pull the Pocket said…
Thanks Rebecca. I think the grassroots still get in this game to race for the thrill of the race. But something sure did change. $2000 vet bills and all the rest. I agree, it is not the same game.

We had a 14 horse stable at one time and just hoped to break even. Now with only a couple, it is the same. Just hope to break even and have some fun. Some trainers and jocks/drivers can make the six figures, or seven figures. Just give me plus or minus ten bucks and I am happy.
Thanks for the spoiler Jessica. That was next on my list.

PtP, you beat me to this post. I am posting something similar up.

Stop stealing my material before I get the idea for it...
Pull the Pocket said…
Jessica is a killjoy. She still tells people at birthday parties where the tail on the donkey is. At least that's what her greenbutgame pal tells me :)

My next post, not really, is going to be about how I think Richard Dutrow should play the Joker on the next Batman movie. That's just a hint. When I write it up it is gonna kick some serious ass and have more twists and turns than a snake venom vet trail.