Saratoga Down

With Saratoga 2013 at an end, the summary is (mostly) bad with some good. First, the obvious: Eight beautiful, sentient creatures were sacrificed so that men could gamble and chase pots of gold…

7/18…Black Rhino
8/11…Charmed Hour
8/17…Heading to Toga
8/25…Sarava’s Dancer and Kris Royal
8/26…Ricochet Court
8/28…Ocean Breeze

But on a more positive note, the Daily Racing Form reports that both measures of handle are off from a year ago – all-sources .2%, ontrack 1.9%. Better still, “despite running a record number of races and getting mostly stellar weather for seven weeks,” attendance fell 3.75%.

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Horseracing finds itself in precarious times. While the likes of Saratoga, Churchill Downs, and Santa Anita are surely with us for a while, the more pedestrian venues, with neither storied pasts nor media minions to recommend them, are unquestionably vulnerable. Indeed, if not for the corporate welfare euphemistically referred to as state/track “cooperation” (racinos), much of harness racing, and likely a good number of claiming tracks too, would be dead or dying by now. If the Saratoga numbers are not simply a one-year aberration, but rather the beginning of a trend, take-notice concern will quickly turn to handwringing.

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  1. And it is not just the fact of so many horses dying at the tracks that needs publicity but there is also abuse of horses while they are in training. This morning, 9/5 2013, an outrageous display of animal cruelty was witnessed at Calder race track in Fl. A young horse was repeatedly beaten hard on the back with a 2 x 4 by a trainer, Easton DeSousa, for refusing to go on to the track. Another trainer intervened and stopped the horrible abuse. The incident was reported to the stewards. However, I believe this individual should be prosecuted for animal abuse. He should lose his license and never be allowed to work around horses again.
    Also, if this beating with a 2 x 4 takes place with people watching one wonders what goes on in the barn. Easton DeSousa needs to go, NO EXCUSES !!!

  2. Melissa, at the bottom click on the “comments” and it will bring up the statement I read to you.


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