Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Wacky Week in Racing

In the past week or so we've seen some pretty wild stories come out of Thoroughbred horse racing.

Early on, we had the Monzante story, which appalled many on social media. 'How could a grade I horse end up in a 4 claimer in the first place' was the main narrative. That narrative got legs from a simple piece from the frequently read Paulick Report, and one wonders of the story would've even got reported en-masse if the bacon wasn't put in the pan to sizzle. Not long after, despite questions about horse owner responsibility, rules and regulations in Louisiana, a gaming company's responsibility to be accredited for safety and many other issues still hanging out there - memes that MLB or the NFL or NHL would have to deal with head on and with a vigilant press nipping at their heels - the story has seemed to wilt.

Last week, Frank Angst reported on the death of a horse at Mountaineer. In "Horse Death Exposes Holes in Regulatory Net" Frank broke down a timeline whereby a trainer reportedly put something in the trash after a horse had died in the paddock, but no one thought to look into the trash to see what it was. Reading the story is painful.

Just this week, the DRF wrote a story on a horse owner in somewhat glowing terms. What they failed to mention was the Wake at Noon incident and this angered many on social media.
I guess she wasn't the only one. In the comments section there was apparently quite the kerfuffle, and the comments had to be deleted.
Over the past twelve to twenty four months stories like the above have occurred both outside and inside the industry, but we just seem to muddle along, despite the masses in comments sections and social media having their voices heard, loudly. Maybe that's why there are still quite a few people asking for Federal oversight of horse racing. In fact, a recent survey from "an industry organization" asks that question point blank (you can take the survey here).

When rugged individualists, free market folks, businessmen and business women - people who make up a big slice of the racing and bloodstock market - are asking for Federal help, you know there's probably a problem. They can't seem to turn to (or rely on) industry organizations or the turf press to help them. They feel disenfranchised and frustrated.  Where else should we expect them to turn?

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