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Monday, April 6, 2015

Is Greed (and Racino Money) Killing the Sport?

I was talking to a trainer about the horse shortage and inability of many trainers to buy yearlings for themselves.  This person agrees the price of yearlings are too high for a small trainer such as themselves to own their own yearling(s).  The conversation indirectly turned to racinos and the slot money horsemen get.  

While they benefit from the slot money themselves, this person is of the opinion we are pushing our two year olds too fast too soon to get their share of the pot of gold.  To paraphrase what they said, if we keep asking our babies to go in ;55, there won't be any claiming horses down the road; in other words, as a result of pushing the babies to go so fast, many of these babies will be washed up and gone from racing before they make it to four.  In other words, a good number of our shrinking foal numbers will be gone before they are available for claiming or overnight racing..

In addition, while they (horsemen and owners) admittedly benefit from slot funds with regards to purses, it is clear this person feels the little guy is getting squeezed out as a result of this slot windfall..  As the person said:

"The money got better and the greed started to show....the pigs got fat.....what can I say, they think about the $ and have forgot about the animals and the other people in the business that don't have an education in doing anything else and have a few [horses] to survive with"

Inflamatory words for sure but what do you think? Are we forgetting the horses' welfare when we play 'rent a horse' in the claiming ranks or when the next cobalt comes along? Is harness racing becoming the game of the 'monied' and slowly but surely, the little guy who does not have the monied patron(s) in their stables are getting squeezed out? Or is this good old fashioned capitalism and it's the survival of the fittest?  

Either way, it is not good in the long run for racing.

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