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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Next Big Problem for Racing

Remember the story in Harnesslink a while ago, where the horse dealers were operating on the backstretch at Monticello Raceway? The racetrack evicted the dealers from the backstretch and threatened to take action against the license of horsemen found to be taking part in the practice of selling a horse for slaughter in an effort to solve the problem. All's well that ends well?   Let's just say rumors suggest otherwise.

This is not a Monticello Raceway problem. It's an industry-wide problem which needs to be addressed. Tracks need to step up and offer surrender stalls for those owners/trainers who have horses whose racing careers have reached the end and they need to kick the horse dealers off the backstretch.  Yes, they may just do business elsewhere, but you don't have to make things easy for those who want to unload their horses and put them in a precarious situation.  Perhaps most importantly, tracks need to take action against those who deal with those dealers who ship horses to slaughter, directly or indirectly. 

The USTA, Jockey Club, and state racing commissions need to develp a system to track the movement of race horses so when one 'disappears', questions may be asked of the last registered owner and if the trainer/owner can't come up with a satisfactory answer, action needs to be taken against them.  In addition, once a horse is sold, the owner must be required to show the horse has been sold and to whom.

Right now medication is the big issue, but once that issue is resolved, the unwanted horse is going to be the next issue which will bite racing in the proverbial butt.  For once, can't we be proactive instead of reactive.

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