There is perhaps no better example of Saratoga (Race Course, that is) ostentation than that annual bit of track pageantry, the “Saratoga Hat Contest.” But beyond the folly lies a serious issue. While the participants, judges, and media see good, clean (and family, in some cases) fun, horse advocates see a lost opportunity to be accountable.
Instead of squandering money on fatuous headwear, the hat people, who are likely bettors too, could have instead donated their money to any number of Thoroughbred rescues desperately trying to save erstwhile “athletes” from cruel ends. It would seem, as supporters of horseracing, that this is the least they could (can) do. Hat contests are not just harmless marketing campaigns; a $2 bet is more than a mere guilty pleasure. There are dire consequences for the equine entertainers.