I think concern about the whip is absurd. Most horsemen and jockeys love these horses and would never abuse them for the sake of abusing them. That said, they race for money, and if a crack of the whip is the difference between the winners check and second money, they're going to go to the whip (Mike Smith on Tiago in the SA Derby for instance). Whip use is abusive in the minds of humans, but the evidence shows that its not very often abusive to the horses. If it were, there'd be a lot more DQ's like in the Belmont race, where obviously, the horse was shying away from contact.I've never been that bothered by whipping in the thoroughbred sport, probably because I came up through the harness ranks. Now those guys have whips, I mean, real whips like I saw on TV as a kid, long and mean, and loud, ouch! I never really thought about it back in the day, but now the whipping at the trotters kinda bothers me. Sometimes they're hitting the sulky, but other times man, they really wind up - they have much more leverage to deliver blows than jockeys do - and the thwack resounds in a small empty harness track like Saratoga. And I've seen frustrated drivers deliver an extra blow after the finish line on more than one occasion.
The Head Chef doesn't like to go to the trotters because of the whipping - she's very sensitive, you know. But I've actually never heard her remark about it at the flats. I don't know what the relative 'pain quotient' is between the two, but it just seems more benign with thoroughbreds for the most part. One notable exception is Ramon Dominguez winding up and hitting Scrappy T so hard that he almost killed Afleet Alex. I think he would have be DQ'd for that alone in the UK, according to the rules.
I'm ready to do some betting tonight, break in my NYRA Rewards account, and experience internet wagering for the first time. But all there is on TVG is the Meadowlands, Yonkers, and Evangeline. I can't bet the harness tracks because I only have 65 cents in my OTB account, and NYRA doesn't offer them. Evangeline is not a track I'm really comfortable with, especially with a 14 horse field, as in the 6th. But I could come back to it later.
The other tracks being offered by NYRA are Lone Star (a Manga track, on HRTV); Penn National and Charles Town (neither on TVG). None of their websites have live streaming; and Penn National's website is a joke. They have links to Equibase entries and results, and that's it as far as racing goes. If the private equity firms that are paying $6.1 billion to acquire the company (and acquiring another $2.8 billion in debt) see that the racing company doesn't care about the racing, how are they going to treat it when they take over?
I know, I could open accounts with an ADW to get the video online, but it's a hassle, and I don't really need or want to have more than one account; and I'd probably have to get two more accounts to get all the exclusives.
Another DQ at Belmont today, and a very similar occurrence to Wednesday, as Le Dauphin was taken down for bearing out and bumping Hunting in the feature. (One difference is that this time, the DQ'd horse was a longshot, at 14-1, and the official winner paid $8.10.) It looks like the worst of it again took place right as they approached the finish. This one, while a bit less flagrant than Wednesday's, also appears to be the right call, as there was definitely contact, and it looked like Hunting had a fighting chance to win. The difference is that Le Dauphin drifted out despite right-handed whipping by Kent Desormeaux, who will likely be held blameless for the foul. Hunting was just the 5th winner of the meeting for Shug, but his third from his last seven runners (plus a second with favored Dancing Forever in the 7th).
And another winner for Godolphin, now 10-5-1-1 on the meeting. Emirates to Dubai hadn't been out since his only race, in
OK, time for Evangeline, if I haven't blogged the card away...