Breeders Cup Discussion?

Somnambulist

Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:43 pm

Well, the Breeder's Cup chose this route. However, she's... out of touch. At best, meaningful change takes long to implement than a few months.

I guess we should all sharpen our pencils and start writing our reps. However, I'm not sure she has too much of a leg to stand on - all personal political discourse aside, this impeachment is not terribly popular and I'm not sure she wants to isolate a key voting constituency for the Dems. I would see this as a rallying point for the right in a number of ways. But we'll see.
CorridorZ75
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:52 pm

You do realize that Feinstein and Pelosi are not the same person? Feinstein is a senator and has little if anything to with impeachment at this time. Also, I guess it probably depends on where you are at, but I wouldn't say the impeachment is necessarily unpopular in my neck of the woods. And I think it is safe to say that no politician outside of Kentucky is going to risk their neck speaking up for horse racing. At best, they will ignore it.
Somnambulist

Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:57 pm

CorridorZ75 wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:52 pm
And I think it is safe to say that no politician outside of Kentucky is going to risk their neck speaking up for horse racing. At best, they will ignore it.
I'm only focusing on this part, because the rest is not what I'm trying to get at -- and yes, I do think other politicians will. There is a tremendous amount of money wrapped up in this sport. I don't think it's going to be easy to wave a hand and make that all go away. That's all. There might be changes.

I might have the wrong take on it but I don't think anything extreme is going to be done.
CorridorZ75
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:00 pm

Let's put in this way: all the Georgian politicians were more than happy to be wined and dined by the group trying to get pari-mutual wagering passed in the state, which would have added some money to state coffers, but when the chips were down, these same politicians couldn't even be counted on to get the vote to the floor in the legislative session.
Somnambulist

Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:05 pm

That's 100% fair but I think it will be harder in states that already have it. I'm trying to be optimistic - it might not be working. It's a tense time.
Tessablue
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:17 pm

I don't think racing is endangered at a national level quite yet. It has many wealthy and influential investors, and Kentucky will definitely fight for it. But in California, its days may very well be numbered, and it is doomed either way if public support dries up and betting revenues plummet. I doubt anything will happen immediately, but once racing falls in one state, it becomes far more vulnerable in others. I'd like to think that other states are watching and preparing safety reforms in advance of the day when public scrutiny is turned towards them... but we'll see. Thus far I'm not encouraged by the industry's response. Santa Anita didn't even put out a statement, they just retweeted the BC one.

And she's not really wrong. Santa Anita and the BC made a big show of all their improvements, a horse still died, and virtually their first priority was to send a vet out to talk about how great Santa Anita is and how they definitely could not have done anything else. Even as a lifelong fan of the sport, it's a terrible look. Imagine how it must look to an outsider?
Somnambulist

Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:26 pm

I wish any of us thought they were really improvement to begin with. The Lasix thing wasn't going to do anything.

But this is what the sport decided to move ahead with. Having it at SA meant no error. I am see some rumor going around that there were some vets who want to scratch MG? I wonder if there is any truth to that?
Tessablue
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:39 pm

The sad thing is, I think they genuinely did make improvements (despite some diversions like the Lasix debate they admitted was pointless and that whip rule that lasted... what, like a week?). But somebody dropped the ball here, and it seems like they're falling into CYA mode again. Which simply isn't sustainable.

Wouldn't be a huge surprise. I've seen so much smoke from so many people on so many different platforms that it's hard not to suspect fire. Doubt we'll ever truly know.

Also, can the Breeders' Cup do something thoughtful with that 200k? Donate it to thoroughbred aftercare, have it fund the MRI, anything? That's an easy layup. If they haven't announced something by the end of the week, I quit.
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Sparrow Castle
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:18 am

Oh, I too think some of TSG's reforms were good. And I definitely think they could do more. Disclosure of veterinary records and the diagnostic scanning machines may be even more important to horse health and safety than what they've already done. And the data says there are fewer fatalities on synthetic surfaces.

I think it could get harder now to save racing in California. I also think if California goes, surrounding states would be endangered too, including Washington, Oregon, Arizona, maybe more. The California breeding industry dwarfs those states and, along with losing that big of a piece of the natural racing circuit, I don't see how owners, trainers, and breeders could survive.

Always hard to tell which way the ball will bounce any more. But pretty quickly, horse racing could move back to where it was maybe 100 years ago, limited in geography and only for the "kings."

Good idea to donate that $200k to aftercare. AKA, fund the potter's field with the bloody money.
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Charlie
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:38 am

I don't think the problem is the MG broke down, I think the problem is that too many uninformed people are speaking quite loudly.

Hoe many horses raced the past two days? and only 1 horse got hurt? Football as more injuries in just one game. The argument id that humans chose to play and horses don't, but if you take out SA's numbers (bc they'd skew the data) horse racing has a fairly low breakdown rate. I wish I could find the study that compared horse racing to other disciplines and horse pasture accidents.

Horses get fatal breaks just running around in a pasture being a horse, the problem is general fans don't know that. They also don't know the level of care that goes into those horses. How many sports have multiple medical professions checking them throughout the week and day leading up to the race (as BC claimed they did)?
Horse racing is a lot like mental illness, it has a terrible stigma and a lot of misinformation, so everyone talks out of their ass like they something when they don't and unfortunatly other people believe them hook, line, and sinker and spread the misinformation.

I don't know how to "fix" the industry but I know giving up and walking away is not it. I also doubt it's in much danger, too many deep pockets involved and not enough people with deep pockets wants it gone.
Tessablue
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:56 am

The football players don't die on the field, and I don't think the general public would take the "well more horses could have died" argument particularly well. There's a curious sort of contradiction with racing fans- we complain endlessly (and justifiably) about crooked trainers, drug usage, and unsafe racing conditions. And yet the moment one of those flaws results in tragedy, we switch to the defensive and can only talk about how great the sport is and how unjustified the criticism of it is. The fact that a horse broke down in the stretch on national television is a problem. Every fatality is.

I think a lot of us have grown so defensive of the sport, and so wary of the genuine extremists out there, that we've sort of developed an unhealthy knee-jerk reaction to events like this. We all see the love and joy and beauty of it, and it is painful when people accuse us and the sport we love of being cruel and monstrous. But we have to move past those feelings in order to look honestly at the issues that are, and should be, the concern of both people within the industry and the outsiders who wish to reform it. It's okay to speculate that these injuries could be due to irresponsible drugs, or a hard track, or veterinary oversight. It means there's something to work on, which is a whole lot better than the alternative.

Moreover, the breakdown rate is substantially lower elsewhere in the world. There is absolutely room to improve. Our technology is advancing every day and we know that many if not all or most of these injuries are due to pre-existing conditions (though we'd know a lot more if we funded and centralized our research). We have to realize that the voices calling for reform and the voices calling for banishment are different, and we need to have a conversation with the former. We can't just fall back on "well it could be worse" every time.
Somnambulist

Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:00 am

It absolutely can be better. An excellent product should always be looking to improve itself.

We're planning a MetLife tailgate followed by some Meadowlands sports book betting. Last night watching ESPN it's crazy how they've got betting lines for every sport. It's more crazy to me how racing never capitalized on this and got out ahead of it. I think boxing took a similar turn to racing and it's arguably more brutal. Yet that's on the upswing.

First and foremost I think racing doesn't hire enough non-racing people so there is a terrible amount of group think but who knows..
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Kurenai
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:07 am

Instead of banning horse racing in CA, they should work hard to improve things and work with vets together, take a look at other racing models outside of the US, see how they operate.

I have no idea about the political sides of things, wouldn't it be possible for a state to demand open vet records from all the horses that are entered into a race, no matter where they are from? Keep that in a database. Have experienced vets look over these records and report if anything looks "off" and scratch the horse. Would some trainers and horse owners be able to sue then?

If you want a gimmick for the public (because that's what people are upset about, they don't realize that the mean reason the horse runs faster is because of the "pop" the crop makes) let Jockeys carry whips for safety but using it is an automatic DQ.

Add a 0 drug policy (except maybe for Lasix). If you want to go even further: horses who are deemed sound enough have to be drug free for at least 2 weeks before a race, take random tests.

2 year old racing: no more 2 yo breeze sales.

Last but not least: keep track of retired horses in yet another database, rule out selling horses to horse traders etc. Anyone who sells a horse without reporting it gets banned for lifetime. In out country it's the law to micro chip pets and register them in a database, as soon as the pet gets a new owner it's registered under a new name. Works with horses too. Add a racehorses are not "fit for consumption" clause in their passport.

I honestly believe that those steps would lead to the best possible outcome. Open vet records would also make the "claiming game" much better.

Downside: horses might not get vet treatment if things are on public record. I think that the problem will solve itself though, because a horse without vet treatment and an issue won't be able to perform, which will lead the owner to switch trainers.

Before banning the whole sport together, implement those changes and see what happens. I however - highly doubt - that this will happen. Most likely scenario is that non-informed politicians are making non thought out decisions (like in every other country on this earth).
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Delamont
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:05 pm

Whips and whipping are a necessity. They help guide the horse as well as urge it to speed. Leave their use to the jocks, not some idiot overseer.

Someone will absorb the cost of the increased medical tests. Who do you think that will be, and who do you think will fold up shop first?
BaroqueAgain1
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:55 pm

I'm under the impression that many horses are cued by specific whip taps to change leads, which is needed during a race. Letting uninformed elements decide on things like Lasix and crop use is not going to make the horses safer.
I feel like those are visible red herrings that TSG has thrown out to keep the Coliseum crowds satisfied temporarily. :oops:
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Charlie
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:38 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:55 pm
I'm under the impression that many horses are cued by specific whip taps to change leads, which is needed during a race. Letting uninformed elements decide on things like Lasix and crop use is not going to make the horses safer.
I feel like those are visible red herrings that TSG has thrown out to keep the Coliseum crowds satisfied temporarily. :oops:
I was told they are trained to use whip taps as cues since jockeys have no leg contact, but I am not a trainer nor do I ride racehorses, so that may be off.

I completely agree with what yall have said, it does need to change, like everything, nothing can stay static. My post was more about how the public THINKS it's such a cruel and dangerous sport when the breakdown/injury rate isn't as high as the public thinks it is. Not so much of "well more horses could have gotten hurt so yay us" but more of a bringing attention to the idea that statistcally what happened is not the common thing, and due more to pure accident. Still not great but it happened and as long as we use these moments as way to improve adn better our sport, I think the public would change their perspective a little. Maybe my post came off weird? I was having trouble putting my thoughts into words. I was not disagreeing with what had been said earlier.

Horse racing definitely needs change ( I mean look at how many people defended Justify's failed drug test and CHRB for brushing it under the rug) but horses are built in such a fine tune way that one bad leg can be fatal, and that's not just something racehorses deal with, but even pasture puffs as well. Having a fatality-free sport isn't possible, but I do agree we should do everything in our power to make that number as low as possible. As for football players, if humans were built like horses I think that would change, people can live with shattered bones and ruined soft tissue. lol Maybe football was a bad example to use on a board that knows horse racing.
Tessablue
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:21 pm

No worries Charlie. I know you're not someone who wants to keep things as they are, just thought your post could be used as a springboard for exploring some feelings on the subject. Apologies if it came off as accusatory. I think we're all having a bit of trouble articulating how we feel right now. Overall this forum has had a really measured response thus far, but if you venture off of it there's some pretty intense meltdowns happening on other platforms. A lot of declarations that it has always been this way and you're just as bad as PETA if you agree that things need to change. It's honestly distressing.

I agree that equine physiology is a unique challenge, although on the other hand the stresses of racing are probably more predictable than the injuries which could be potentially encountered on the playing field. Even if it's not a super accurate comparison, I think it's good to bring up the NFL because that sport has had major injury concerns recently as well. I'm actually convinced that the NFL is on the path to destruction and could fall out of public favor within a couple of decades (personally, I'll probably stop watching once Brady retires). This is because I Ithink the NFL genuinely does not believe that it is in danger, so it is content to mess with research funding and mislead the public while knowingly damaging the brains of its players. The way to prevent CTE- fewer games further apart- would bring down the bottom line, so it won't happen absent a paradigm shift in the organization's thinking. Racing, meanwhile, has fewer funds and far less centralization, but I think most everyone is starting to realize that the current model is not sustainable.

It will be really interesting to see how the two sports adapt in the coming years.
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Kurenai
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:34 am

Delamont wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:05 pm
Whips and whipping are a necessity. They help guide the horse as well as urge it to speed. Leave their use to the jocks, not some idiot overseer.

Someone will absorb the cost of the increased medical tests. Who do you think that will be, and who do you think will fold up shop first?
Heh, I know they are a necessity for safety reasons. I also know that some (!) horses really need it to perform, would suck for the owner if you have such a horse. Don't know about the switching leads since we never asked that from our horses. :P Might as well take the Euro approach and limit it to... lets say 3 strikes or a DQ. The important part of that rule is the automatic DQ.

You don't have to test every single horse, nor did I say that anywhere. Just pick 3 to 5 horses from the card at random, can also add a 3 strikes and you're out (banned for XY years) rule. Again: the important part is the one about consequences. Who will absorb the costs of those tests? Split it up between everyone entered on the card. Can't afford those extra few bucks when owning a race horse? Well tough luck, then you shouldn't own one in the first place.

Btw I know that none of that will happen. But if they really threaten to ban horse racing, those would be the steps I would take to keep it going.
BaroqueAgain1
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:39 am

I know more than one parent who has decided that their children will NOT be playing on a school football team.
If that is widespread and growing, the NFL could possibly find itself withering from its roots.
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Curtis
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:04 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:39 am
I know more than one parent who has decided that their children will NOT be playing on a school football team.
If that is widespread and growing, the NFL could possibly find itself withering from its roots.
That wouldn’t bother me a bit. What will happen though is the quality will just decline and the smaller FCS schools will lose their recruits to the FBS schools.
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