The racehorse industry has been faced with accusations of promoting the breeding of fragile animals that are unable to withstand the rigors of training, because of a lust for promoting speedy animals at all costs. And the recent publicity of the slaughter of retired racehorses who have outlived their usefulness has further damaged the reputation of the sport. Unlike other forms of betting, horseracing must try to preserve its family-friendly image to some extent, given that many parents take their children to the track. Poor sportsmanship and a lack of sensitivity to the suffering of animals will turn the next generation of fans away.
Churchill Downs must honor the legacy of its treasured past, and promote prominent ethical spokespersons for the sport, like the multiple Kentucky Derby winner jockey Calvin Borel. More stringent standards must be imposed industry-wide regarding the treatment of both horses and jockeys, but until then, Churchill Downs must lead the way in ensuring the guidelines that do exist are rigorously enforced. In terms of profit-making, horseracing can never compete with Internet wagering, but as a compelling spectacle and entertainment it can continue to draw crowds, provided it honors the concerns of its true fans.
A brief history of the Kentucky Derby.
(2010). Time Magazine. Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1894988_1876977,00.html#ixzz13rcUDwJF
Grassi, Diane M. (2010, June 27).Horse racing industry saddled with financial meltdown.
Sports Column. Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.sportscolumn.com/2010/06/27/horse-racing-industry-saddled-with-financial-meltdown/
History of Churchill Downs. (2010). Churchill Downs. Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.churchilldowns.com/about/history
Meagher, Joe. (2010, June 5). A beautiful sport, an ugly industry. The New York Times.
Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://therail.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/05/a-beautiful-sport-an-ugly-industry/
Schmidt, Neil. (2004, April 25). Horse racings dirty little secret. The Cincinnati Inquirer.
Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/04/25/spt_sptrac1a.html
Stowe, Jill. (2010, October 23). Thoroughbreds: Freshman sire stud fees.
The Horse. Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=17136&src=RA
Trageser, Jim. (2010, October 23). The NC Times. Horse racing suffers from break with agrarian past. Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.nctimes.com/sports/equestrian/racing/article_04f9f337-ba7c-5a24-875d-774132fe4703.html.