“Horse Racing-It Gets Worse”
What has happened, will never leave the sport.
The finish to the Kentucky Derby.
That, and the finish to the end of the season at Santa Anita.
There are problems everywhere in the sport, from the cost of operation of the once proud stables, to the drugging issues, to the brutality of the sport, to the deaths they must now deal with.
And now the controversial decision that changed the outcome of its greatest day in the sports history.
How the sport survives the trauma of what we have seen, not just Saturday, but for the past couple of years, remains to be seen.
Saturday could have been a catastrophe wrapped around the controversy.
The 18-minute video replay showed the potential winner, Maximum Security drifted to the right coming out of the 4th turn down the stretch. A slow motion breakdown of the video, showed the lead horse clicked heels with a challenger War of Wills.
Then one horse bumped another, and bumped two more in almost a chain reaction incident. War of Wills nearly fell down.
Luckily no horse went down, but it looked as if it almost happen.
If it did, there would have been deaths, maybe 4-horses would have had to be destroyed. Who knows how many jockeys would have been hurt is unknown, but there would have been some trampled.
After review, Country House was named the winner, and Maximum Security was disqualified.
Horse racing is in an uproar right now. Chaos, calamity and credibility issues.
The bigger issues, the brutality of the sport. 23-horses breaking down during the winter meet at Santa Anita. The suspension of the schedule. The investigation of the track conditions. No one seems to know why.
At least at Delmar a couple of years ago, when 18-horses died in one meet, moves were made to change the track surface, and since then horse deaths are down where the ‘Surf meets the Turf’.
But racing has issues everywhere. The inhumane outcome to too many horses. The use of whips. The use of Lasix to prevent bleeding. The intense workouts to get young horses ready for the big races.
The public sees the beauty of these horses. They see the rich people at the races. The ladies and their summer hats and dresses.
They know the history of the sport of kings, Seabiscuit, Affirmed, Alydar and so many more over the years.
They seldom pay attention to the fatality rate.
They are paying attention to what happened on Saturday, but there will be no likely change in the steward’s ruling.
Lucky for Churchill Downs, and for the sport, no one got hurt in the outcome of that race. Lucky for them that video replay got the call correct.
For if the worst-case scenario happened, a bad spill, that killed horses and possibly jockeys, horse racing would not have survived.
But as Saturday turned to Sunday, Monday, and now into Tuesday, the bigger issues is still there.
1500-pound horses, pounding on dirt or turf, thundering with power, bumping and racing in close proximity. A bad accident just one stride away. And no one able to solve the issues of the sport.
They never shut down Formula 1-racing in decades past, when they were losing a driver a month in the sport because of accidents. They made it safer. The same for NASCAR since the death of Dale Earnhardt.
We’ve seen what the NFL has becomes, with concussions, brain damage and suicides. And the efforts to lessen violent hits not he field.
The use of supplements and steroids has ended carriers, but not MLB baseball. Fighting has been eradicated from the NHL because of the damage it caused.
Horse racing still does not have a solution to its ills, yet.
It’s gotten worse, and there’s no way to come up with a formula for prevention of what cold happen on any race-day.
There is still a real fear, out of the gate could mean into a grave.
Next race, next post time, next tragedy waiting.
Horse racing…..It just seems to be getting worse.