Richard Young: don’t lump standardbreds in with thoroughbreds
Recently I wrote an article in HRU concerning the advantages of owning a standardbred harness horse versus a thoroughbred (full story here).
I don’t have to repeat them, although I had pointed out the incidence of career-ending injury was more than significantly higher in thoroughbreds. We then had the horrendous story of the high rate of horses that had to be put down at Santa Anita.
This only accentuates the standardbreds advantages. We need to exploit the differences.
I seriously doubt the cause of any particular drug played a roll. If that was true then the rates would be the same yearly. Hard to ignore the obvious. Can it not be that the weather having broken records for rain and cold temperatures be the primary cause?
This cannot be just a co incidence.
However, the reason for this piece is we must educate the vast differences from our sport to thoroughbred racing.
The general public has no clue that there are any differences whatsoever. PETA (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is out there trying to eliminate racing and, let’s admit it, without providing education, if any action is taken against thoroughbreds, standardbreds will be included.
We need to eliminate reasons why we should be lumped together. The uneducated will look to any reason possible to ban racing. Here are a couple of points to consider: We need to eliminate racing two heats. There are arguments on both sides.
I happen to think it’s time to eliminate them for many reasons already outlined by others. But, we need to add one more reason. The uneducated public view it as too hard on the horses. It’s cruelty to animals. We actually don’t need another reason.
That reason alone is enough.
Also, (recently) I was watching Yonkers and noticed what would appear to the general public as excessive use of the whip. I can only see PETA’s reaction in trying to determine if harness racing falls in the same category as thoroughbreds as we are just as cruel to the animals. Again, we don’t need another reason. We must stop the use of the whip or curtail it some way.
Again, with all the issues surrounding thoroughbreds todays, this is a good time to highlight harness racing as safer with far less situations for extreme monetary losses.
– Richard Young / Boca Raton, FL
Not trying to win is illegal
Reading Brett Sturman’s article regarding the Levy at Yonkers (full story here) is one of the main reasons harness racing is on life support. With five preliminary legs, he questions the incentive to try hard from an outside post position and risk not getting any “points” as opposed to racing conservatively, accumulate what “points” you can and “try harder” if you draw an inside position in the next leg. This type of “racing strategy” is not only sickening, it is ILLEGAL!!! Read the racing commission rules at any pari-mutuel track on Earth and I can guarantee that it will read that betting interests MUST RACE TO WIN. If this type of racing strategy is condoned, then by any and all legality, these elimination races need to be non-betting events. Harness racing talks a big game in regards to attracting new customers, but how or why would anyone want to wager their money on a horse that may or may not be trying to win due to its current standings in an elimination process to qualify for a final event? I remember a few years ago, a gentleman wanted to sue the track he wagered at because he felt that the horse he wagered on did not try to win and he felt that although when wagering on a horse you are not guaranteed to win, you are guaranteed an effort to win. These elimination races prove he wasn’t the crackpot so many accused him of being.
– Mike Campbell / Milford, PA