One of the ways horseracing has been able to survive for so long is masterful marketing – “The Sport of Kings.” But it could not have done so without complicit media partners: numerous Sports Illustrated covers; ESPN naming three racehorses to its list of the 20th Century’s greatest athletes; and in a class by itself, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which dutifully covers all of Racing’s high holy days. And so it was last weekend at Churchill Downs, scene of this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
In the marquee race, the $6 million “Classic,” with NBC shamelessly presenting with all the drama and flair it would bring to any big sporting event, egregious animal cruelty was unfolding for the cameras – and hence, before our very eyes. In the stretch run, jockey Christophe Soumillon mercilessly whipped 4-year-old Thunder Snow – beat the hell out of him, actually. (Thunder Snow is the #1 horse; Soumillon wears blue.)
Trust your gut, folks – if it looks like animal cruelty, sounds (whack, whack, whack) like animal cruelty, and, simply, feels like animal cruelty, then that’s exactly what it is. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated. Horseracing is animal cruelty.