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What Kind of a Game Does Horse Racing Want?

PETA has filed an appeal request of the KHRC's report in Kentucky today. As I noted before, the whole "exoneration thing" is troubling on a couple of counts, i) exonerated of what exactly? Asmussen was not jacking horses with rocket fuel or beating them with a stick; he did nothing wrong, and was just playing the horse racing game and ii) the giddiness inside the sport with the "exoneration" was so short sighted and so horse racing, it was once again an excuse to embrace the status quo.

It's the latter that most of us seem most concerned with.

Case in point, which I have not heard from anyone is untrue (although, that might not matter, this could be in almost any stable. Regardless, please let me know if this is challenged and I missed it): Teardrop (it's on page 6).

Teardrop was an Asmussen trained two year old filly who seemed to be having lameness issues. June 18th, Blasi says the filly is lame. June 20th, she is walked the shedrow and lameness seems to be there too on video.  Despite that, she's put in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill, and two days later passes (Kentucky) vet inspection and comes 7th by 25 as the 2-1 race favorite. You don't have to have a phd in animal science to surmise she raced lame.

That, according to the KHRC, is some sort of "exoneration".

The horseplayers who bet her down to favorite, don't feel they had a fair shake. In fact, the "she's trained nice since her maiden win" quote in the DRF would've told them everything is hunky-dory.

Teardrop, presumably raced lame, probably doesn't feel like she had a fair shake.

If she broke down, it would've been an "unfortunate occurrence" and someone would've filed several stories about how polytrack might've saved her.

If it was in Hong Kong, it would've never even happened.

With the Kentucky report filed (and New York report pending), this business needs to understand that this has nothing to do with someone's Hall of Fame ballot, or if they should be working with horses, or in turn get some massive suspension. This has absolutely nothing to do with Steve Asmussen. This is about what kind of game horse racing wants moving forward. It's about the way horse racing always has done business versus what it needs to do in modern society to remain relevant (and to keep the slot money rolling in). It's about the horses, the people who work with them, and the future of the sport itself.


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