Horseracing: The “Glorious Sport” That Maims and Kills Horses

Steve Haskin recently penned an article for Blood-Horse in which he recalls a better time, a Golden Age of American racing, if you will:

“Picture a deep blue sky, a slight late winter’s chill in the air, warmed by the sun, and rows of colorful tulips bringing the first images of the impending spring. Picture a kaleidoscope of familiar colors atop noble steeds who have migrated north with the robins. Picture cigar smoke-filled buses and trains arriving one after another from all parts of the city. Picture people leaving work in the middle of the afternoon to participate in an annual rite of spring.

“Picture all this and you have merely begun to picture opening day at Aqueduct back in the ’60s and ’70s, traditionally held in mid-March each year. New Yorkers every December went into racing hibernation, building up their funds and their unbridled enthusiasm, counting the days when the glorious sport of Thoroughbred racing returned to the Big Apple. With it came the rush of humanity off the train platform headed for the mutuel windows to get down on the Daily Double.”

Although Mr. Haskin goes on to censure today’s industry – the “carnage,” the drug culture – what stands out, yet again, is the self-delusion. These people, especially the grayer ones, really believe this stuff. Racing, to them, can be good, wholesome, benign – for man and horse alike. It is, of course, unmitigated garbage, garbage made all the worse when wrapped in flowery rhetoric, garbage that must be answered each and every time it’s spewed at a mostly naive and ignorant public.


Allow me, Mr. Haskin, to break down your muse to its very core: Horseracing is the exploitation, abuse, and destruction of sentient beings for $2 bets. It’s what it has always been; it’s what it will always be – there is no rehabilitating an inherent wrong. So, Mr. Haskin, don’t act all befuddled as to what to do (“…no one seems to have any answers”), for the solution is as plain as one of today’s shattered cannon bones: Cease and desist. Find another line of work, another hobby, another human endeavor to wax poetic about. Your “glorious sport” kills horses.


  1. I support you all the way. I adopted a OTTB 5 years 3 days before he was to go to slaughter auction. Because he had tendonistis. He was a 3X futurity winner.

  2. Amen, Patrick! What a wonderful commentary on the “garbage” that emanates from Steve Haskin’s mouth. Mr. Haskin is delusional. Although, on the outside, racing can appear to be beautiful, on the inside it is rotten to the core. Additionally, anyone who calls racing a “glorious” sport is not only delusional but they are a liar.

  3. Patrick,

    I totally agree with what you said.

    “Horseracing is the exploitation, abuse, and destruction of sentient beings for $2 bets. It’s what it has always been; it’s what it will always be – there is no rehabilitating an inherent wrong. ”

    ” Your “glorious sport” kills horses.”

    • Mary,

      Delusional is a really good word to describe what is going on in the racing world.

      I believe that anyone that says that they love their horse and simultaneously drug their horse, allow their horse to be beaten and allow their horse to run at top speeds and push their bodies beyond their natural capacity and to make matters worse, put them in danger every time they go on the track, is in a delusional state of mind.

  4. You are exactly right, Patrick.

    Haskin is delusional or deceitful. Nobody in this business could possibly believe that nonsense. If they do, there is something very wrong with their thinking.

  5. Patrick…thank you, once again, for saying it like it is. So many people “sit the fence” on the subject of horseracing – on one hand, the “sitters” occasionally acknowledge the constant killing of horses for entertainment and jobs…yet on the other, they choose to be lukewarm because taking a stand might cause one to lose “friends”, fans, and funds. But there is something about lukewarm…it is unsavory.

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