So far, as I follow it, and in my opinion, a few themes have been established. In a broad sense, of course.
- I think the death of Monzante, like others before him, will help his brothers and sisters in the long run. Stories like this, which tend to tug at most of us, have a way of changing the way a system operates, incrementally, by speaking to the individual. For example, through moral suasion perhaps another good horse is claimed out of a race like this to be retired. That opens a spot for an everyday horse at a retirement farm. Without being too melodramatic, Monzante's death will - not might - save another horses life.
- The journalism crowd seems to be having an internal discussion about how to report issues like this - timing, the facts, the opinion; the can of worms. I know it's not popular to defend journalists in this day and age, but I think horse racing has some very good ones. When they talk and discuss (sometimes loudly), their craft - and horse racing - is better for it. Since the initial story, I've felt the down-the-middle reporting of the DRF's Matt Hegarty has been excellent (as one example).
- The 'it's my property and I can do what I want with it' horse ownership crowd has been taking it on the chin in the press, on social media, and is in a standing eight count. I shed no tears for them. If they want to treat a horse purchase or sale like they're buying or selling a timeshare or 100 shares of Apple, go do that and get out of horse racing. Racehorses are animals that are bought to race; to be on television, who have fans, have people who watch and bet them, and are a fabric of North American culture. The way they are cared for while they race, and after they race is a vital part of the ecosystem that keeps everyone in racing employed. If you want cattle, buy cattle. Racehorses are not livestock.
- The forwarding of a discussion regarding ownership responsibility is good for everyone. As one micro example, in Canada we are allowed to write farming losses (which racehorse ownership here is) off our incomes, to a max of about $9,000. My stable consists of three people who recently paid for a horse who was needing a home for well over a year. The $200 or so each a month came from the stable as an expense. This expense was written off as a loss, and we all received some income benefit from that at tax time. These losses can be carried forward as well. We're all looking for a home run horse where we will pay oodles of tax on it some time. Taking care of the stable's stock now can make that tax bite less in the future, and it makes everyone feel good to help a horse we own at the same time. It's expensive to care for horses after they race, but it isn't as expensive as one thinks when you look at it from that perspective.
- Dan might've summed up perhaps the most interesting item of the week.
@Pullthepocket The most interesting piece of the Monzante story to me is that fans decided it will be a story and made it so.He's probably right. If this happened in 1992, no one would even be talking about it.
— Dan Needham (@thorotrends) July 25, 2013
Since the story broke I have tried to look at all sides, while staying out of protracted arguments and focusing on the big picture. Whether I have succeeded or not in that is not for me to judge. However, from as dispassionate a position I can muster, I think some good is happening in horse racing land regarding this story. At least I hope so.