(Expensive) Babies For Sale

$1,225,000. That’s what a filly relative of Barbaro and AP Indy fetched at the Saratoga Sale of Selected Yearlings this past Monday and Tuesday. All seemed happy with the final numbers: 108 horses sold for a cumulative total of $31.87 million. For those keeping track, a little over $295,000 a horse, or the price of a nice home in Loudonville. Wow. Even better for the horse people, the “buyback rate” (horses left unsold) was 21%, down from 2012’s 34%. According to house president Boyd Browning Jr, we have “a healthy marketplace.”

The Thoroughbred (cattle) auction is the modern day equivalent of the slave block, you know, the kind where strapping bucks and pretty wenches were gathered and traded in the center of town. Here, an interjection is necessary: As it’s a good bet that virtually every animal activist on the planet would have also embraced 19th Century abolitionism, no need to apologize for the parallel. If it looks like a slave, sounds like a slave, and acts like a slave, then a slave it is. That said, the racehorse buyer can’t even claim economic survival; he subjugates for fun. Think of the good that could have come from the obscene amounts expended this week on Thoroughbreds. On an elitist hobby. They should be ashamed. I know they are not.

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