People often ask me why I don't bother playing the thoroughbreds. I mean we're talking about not playing or going to the thoroughbred tracks at all. It has been many years. When it comes to racing and individual preference, it tends to be the type of racing you start with is what you are comfortable with. To a certain degree, I still agree with that statement but let the truth be told, I just don't have a stomach for the number of fatal breakdowns the runners experience.
For example, one day I went to Monmouth and while I am sure it was an exception, the first three horses I wagered on broke down. It got to the point when horses seemingly looked over to me imploring me not to wager on them. That was the last day I went to the runners.
But I am not the only person who feels this way. There was an article this weekend regarding The 'Self Destruction of Del Mar ' which talked about a racetracker bringing three friends to the track only to witness fatal breakdown number fourteen at the renowned track, averaging two a week; a high number for most tracks. The author accuses Del Mar officials of trying to press release their way out of a problem without actually doing anything about it.
Horsemen will note how they treat these horses with the best of care, but you can't explain all these breakdowns due to unsafe track conditions. Whether trainers are pushing horses to make their next start or state veterinarians approving horses to run when they should have remained in their stalls, there is a reasonable chance some of these breakdowns could have been prevented.
Maybe breakdowns are an unfortunate part of the sport, but they can race without me. I've seen one too many breakdowns with the runners, a lifetime of breakdowns. I don't wish the runners any harm, but they will have to do it without me.
Yes, breakdowns can happen with harness racing, but much less likely than with the runners. I can count the number of breakdowns I've seen at harness raceways on one hand (more likely, two fingers). I'll stick with the trotters thank you very much..