An anonymous reader writes:
I just have to argue with the connection of "rash of breakdowns" and Santa Anita. Yes, Santa Anita had a bad opening week. But where is the press now? Santa Anita had zero racing fatalities for the entire month of January. Zero. How may at Aqueduct?That crisis did seem to pass with a whimper, didn't it? The reader certainly makes a fair point about the press, and I was guilty too.....although, I forgot, I'm a blogger, not the press.....and in fact, that was what he/she was responding to.
And I guess it was stupid of me in the same post to wonder out loud if the new steroids rule may have something to do with some rashes of breakdowns we saw around the new year. We all make mistakes. I don't really have any idea how much or how little steroids have effected the sport. The signals from horsemen have been mixed, in large part no doubt because users and non-users have good incentives to strike opposite positions, as reader Amateurhandicapper alluded to here.
The way I see it, rashes of breakdowns are probably due mostly to statistical circumstance, the odds evening out over the long run. Drugs or no drugs, dirt or artificial, horses get hurt and occasionally die from their injuries. I know I said I wasn't going to write about this stuff anymore, so this can be like a closing summation. Opening argument was here. We breed these horses strictly for our own pleasure - to watch, to bet on, to scream for, to jump up and down over, to make a livelihood on (or a fortune if you're good or lucky). To break and train to run really fast on their spindly legs, and to sell and train and race and train some more, and to race some more even if it seems plain that they really don't want to, to breed, to get pregnant and bear a foal on an annual basis. All for our own pleasure, addictions and greed. To me, the moral judgment begins and ends there. Of course they're going to break down on occasion, what the heck do you expect is going to happen?
If you're a fan, you're willing to accept this, and you're signed up and on board, so don't start crying that you're going to hug your daughter because of some stakes horse that enjoyed a far better life than most of the poor slobs who get put down on a track like, say, Remington Park, the #3 track in the HANA ratings. (The Head Chef and I were talking about making Saratoga plans for this summer, but you know what, it was unranked, so we're going to save our money and go to fucking Remington Park instead. Please, gimme a break.)
Anyway, I know you hate to hear this, but breakdowns are just part of the game. And the self-flagellation over Eight Belles has gotten this industry derailed from all the things it wasn't doing anyway. OK, I'm done.
- How long you think before we read the article about the Sheikh reigning in the spending, or culling down the herd?