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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

An article about Western Fair District was in the London Free Press yesterday with track CEO Hugh Mitchell stating the Raceway at WFD will be a player next year after the funding formula for racetracks is finalized.  Even more surprising is Mitchell suspects WFD will thrive as well as possibly holding more races each day next year. 

I for one am glad WFD will be around next year after March as they have always made a point of working hard to get people into the seats and wagering by being more than just a racetrack; they are an entertainment destination.  With the expected contraction of half the tracks in Ontario, the feeling is WFD will be able to put on high quality events, if for no other reason than horses which competed at the soon to be closed tracks need somewhere to race.

One reason Mitchell is optimistic is the market has been too saturated with racing.  Contraction has been needed for a while and thanks to the government's decision, the industry's hand will be forced in Ontario.  The same can be said for racing in the United States.  Where I differ is how contraction takes place.  You can close tracks and/or cut racing days at each track.  True, there are fixed costs which need to be paid whether or not you race, but if your facility can be used for other purposes, it will defray some of those expenses.  The problem lies with the horsemen.  Horsemen will admit there is too much racing but their attitude is let the other horsemen cut back on their race dates, not them.

On the SBOANJ website, an 'anonymous' letter from a horseman has been posted complaining how Freehold Raceway is not really living up to the agreement to write 40% of the races for NJOS Preferred  horses.  Oh, they write the races but they often use classes which don't fill to get to the 40% threshold.  New Jersey horsemen have a tough job surviving in their home state and with Delaware and Pennsylvania doing all they can to keep their races for themselves, protectionism in New Jersey is necessary.  But not only does Freehold Raceway need to write these NJOS races in classes which fill, local horsemen need to stop burning candles on both ends and enter their horses at Freehold so all horsemen get a chance to race. 


We have discussed the issue of horse slaughter in the past, but someone has sent me a petition with a link to a video even shocked me.  Here is a petition regarding the alleged conditions at Laverton Knackery in Australia.  With his petition is an undercover video which shows some of the 'processing' taking place.

Truth be told, I thought this was one video which went too far so if you intend to watch the video, be forewarned.  If you want to sksip the video, here is a story about the situation which may be enough for you.  The article talks about the video where a horse was shot, dragged 60 meters, shot again, had it's throat cut yet it was still alive, lifting its head up off the ground, finally dying after four minutes.  That's after hitting the horse on the head roughly sixty times before hand.  The horse in question was a thoroughbred racehorse named Nature's Child.

I really don't enjoy bring you these videos or stories for that matter.  Quite honestly, it is the fact I like horse racing which makes me share these videos and links.  How much longer do you think horse racing can survive when these stories continue to get exposure?  If the industry doesn't come to terms with this problem and address it, eventually the only throat which will be slit is horse racing's.

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