Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's About Time

I once had a friend who claimed a horse with a cracked knee. The response from folks in racing was the usual, "buyer beware" or "boy, you got burned." It is a part of the game and it is accepted as such. I say poppycock. What if you spent $200,000 on a house and you found out that the previous owner did not disclose a foundation problem and the house is ready to fall down? Would your neighbours say "buyer beware; too bad so sad"? Of course not.

It is about time we brought the investment in racehorses to some sort of level that is on par with other investments. In one small step, vets are calling for horses that receive a catastrophic injury during a race in which they are claimed to be sent back to the original owner. The hope is that shady owners, running badly damaged horses for financial gain, or to hoodwink another owner will think twice, and possibly give the horse time to heal and race soundly.

Ask people in any other business and this would be considered common sense, and ethical. It would be implemented already, or take minutes to implement with unanimous support. I bet it won't be embraced with alacrity in racing though. The minute you want to take something away from someone, somewhere in this sport, no matter how bad it is for the business, there tends to be a fight.

Man who gathers wind has a post up on this stuff. Some interesting other tidbits.

4 comments:

Scott Ferguson said...

I've never claimed a horse before, so I can't believe passing a bet scan isn't a mandatory part of the sale! A - they shouldn't be aloowed to run when they aren#t fit in the first place, and B - no transaction should be allowed to take place until a vet test is passed.

No wonder racing has a bad name from people outside the industry....

Allan said...

Actually, I would propose when a horse is claimed in a race title does not pass until the race is over and the horse is examined by a state vet who will determine if a horse is suffering anything more than routine sores. This way an owner will not be able to just drop that 50K claimer into a 20K and lose the horse. If you need to drop the horse that low it needs time off, not racing.

Cangamble said...

In Ontario, on the thoroughbred side, if a horse is euthanized within 24 hours of a claim, the new owner gets back half up to either 16 or 20k (I think). Right now, that gives an incentive to new owners to put down a horse that may be able to recover.
Where do you draw the line on a catastrophic injury though?
And I'm not sure that this will stop anyone from running sore horses. They'll still take the chance the horse might get claimed and might not breakdown.

Anonymous said...

As an aside to this discussion my next question is; what happened to the Commission Vet who is supposed to be scratching lame horses anyway? This has been a source of frustration at both WEG and the Meadowlands, to hear a horse being touted and than to watch the post parade and see his head nodding a foot. Yes I know some horses throw it all away at the gate, but many of these do not they race like they look, BAD.
Regards, Rebecca