Welfare Has Oaklawn Horsemen Sitting Pretty

The Paulick Report (11/7) says that Oaklawn Park has received a record number of stall applications for the upcoming meet (Jan 9th). The reason: a record amount of available purse money ($23 million). On the surface, all seems rosy in Arkansas. But…

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Oaklawn is a racino track; in a January 2013 DRF article, Oaklawn’s GM conceded that at that time revenue from gaming – reel/table games – accounted for close to 50% of total purse money. And that was up from 40% the year before. A “critical component,” he called it. Chances are it’s even higher now.


So you see, the Paulick press release is grossly misleading: With nary a mention of the corporate welfare (welfare because the money flowing from gaming to horsemen is unearned and state-mandated), the implication is that Oaklawn racing – as measured by bets and attendance – is thriving. It is not. Distract and deceive, the racing way.

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  1. The Paulick News is a
    Racing Industry favourite, and as such focuses on positive trends in the industry however deceiving they may be. That said, it has reported on injuries, and deaths occasionally. It’s financially supported by the conglomerates and corporate barns of Breeders, Sale Auctions, Owners, and Trainers. One must follow the money trail when reading any piece of journalism like this. All racing industry supported articles tend to exacerbate the glitz, and glamour and downplay the very real welfare issues of racehorses. It’s not totally ignored, however, but who would expect the industry to own up to the exploitation of racehorses while their dying on tracks and sent to the slaughterhouse. In order for this industry to fill races they must support the never ending turnstile of racehorses that are bred for this industry, and die for this industry. The racehorse has become a disposable commodity and the industry does little about it all the while knowing that the horse racing business model is based on the exploitation of racehorses.

  2. From the Paulick Report

    “future stars” and “jewels on four legs” I wonder who this person is ? He is totally ignoring the reality of what
    terrible treatment these horses recieve. I cannot agree these people are good horsemen either.

    By Frank Mitchell

    One of the strong currents swirling within the sales in Kentucky this month is the identity and assessment of future stars. Those peak performers are found not only in the sessions at Fasig-Tipton’s one-day auction or in Book 1 of Keeneland’s November sale, which runs through six books — good horses are found throughout the sales, at all price levels, with premium pedigrees and without.

    Good horsemen and lucky ones alike come upon jewels on four legs, but one of the great interests for those of us observing the sales and participating in them is watching how the market responds to particular sires and sire lines.

  3. just found Frank Mitchell

    He calls this fun. He is oblivious to the pain these horses go through.

    From his article.

    For these good prospects and all the others, the possibility seen at the sales will be tested at the racetrack, and we will be able to find out which horses are breeding on by siring significant athletes. We fans of the sport can watch it all develop, and oh, what fun it is!


    he makes money writing books about horses in racing. Now I get it. He is blinded by the money he makes.
    Racehorse Breeding Theories

    Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky.

  4. Patrick,

    I found this article on Paulick Report about Lasik and in the comment box I recommended people check out your website. We need to get the word out about the abuse that is happening at the race track.

    Of course, They need to ban Lasik and Racing once and for all but this is a step I had not heard of before here in the US

    Dr. Scott Hay, an equine veterinarian at Teigland, Franklin and Brokken, said; “Although third-party Lasix administration is somewhat controversial among racetrack veterinarians, we have seen it successfully put in place in several racing jurisdictions recently. I think most of us can agree that it is more important to have the ability to protect our patients from the negative effects of EIPH with race-day Lasix than which veterinarian gives it.”


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