“[A] good race can chart multiple arcs: the frontrunner, the disappointment, the underdog. Who holds its stride when a competitor is on its heels? Who gets in whom’s head and falls apart? Who finds out its extra gear has an extra gear? No matter who you are, there’s a horse for you.” – Seerat Sohi, Yahoo Sports
It’s rare these days that a racing article can still make me angry. But last week, Yahoo Sports published a piece by Seerat Sohi, (mostly) an NBA writer, that did just that and more. Its title: “Why horse racing can appeal to a younger crowd and overcome its ugly past.” Yes, it is as horrible as it sounds – at once, tone-deaf, ignorant, and obtuse.
(Note: I held off writing in the hope of reaching the author; I did not succeed.)
Sohi opens by explaining how, sports-starved during the pandemic, she turned to racing, albeit with low expectations: “Let’s be clear. I wasn’t planning on liking horse racing. Even though I thought it would be tedious…I was ready to play the ponies.” But then, “a dozen beautiful horses leaped from the gates, and I was entranced. I was shocked by how entranced I was.” From there, it was waxing (poetic) time:
“Watching my first race was like grazing the edges of an ancient stone, feeling its power, its ancestry, that sense of entering into an ancient lineage. … The sight of a horse on the run is life-giving, inspiring. It sets off something carnal. The way they tried to best each other, stride by stride, made me want to run.”
She then laments that, despite being “tailor-made for a generation that needs a break to check its phone every 90 seconds,” Racing is not drawing the young. And though she cites “attitudes toward animal cruelty” as a factor – the last of seven mentioned, one of which was “Netflix” (?) – it’s quickly dismissed: “I’m not sure how much that applies to an audience that tunes in every Sunday to watch men mash their heads against each other.” Not the same at all, of course, something the kids surely know. Still, she says, “It isn’t a failure of the product itself. The races are invigorating.”
Of the gambling component, she asks: “But does horse racing even need to hitch itself to gambling?” It’s not, after all, like poker, “because horse racing is a real sport. There’s intrinsic pleasure in watching it. Gambling lubricates the experience, but isn’t dependent on it.” Did I not promise obtuse?
And then, because it seems everything nowadays must be reduced to this, race:
“But the more I read about the mainstream narrative of horse racing, the more disconnected I felt from the races, and it occurred to me why…it took a pandemic and a white boyfriend for this 26-year-old Canadian woman of Indian descent to finally tune in: modern horse racing isn’t designed to appeal to me. The heroes in American horse racing culture are almost always white. That’s on purpose. … Young equestrians are now questioning the horse racing world’s lack of response to George Floyd’s homicide…challenging the sport they love to tackle diversity problems and its deep-seated white privilege.”
So, horseracing is racist. Not speciesist (she probably doesn’t even know what that word means), but racist. Precious.
She closes thus: “If you’ve never watched horse racing…there are races everywhere, all the time. Check one out. Watch the way the horses move. It’s for you.”
Vile – from start to finish.
Of the charges leveled above, however, the most unforgivable is ignorant. Ms. Sohi is a paid journalist. It’s her job to know her subject. And no, providing Wikipedia-like snippets of racing history or citing the number of black jockeys in the 1875 Kentucky Derby doesn’t cut it. Had she done a modicum of research, she would have found that contemporary racing is in the news because of on-track kills, slaughter, whips, drug scandals, and federal indictments – none of which she mentions. At all. (And no, she doesn’t get credit for the “ugly past,” as article titles typically come from editors.)
But perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps it’s not ignorance at all. Perhaps Ms. Sohi is very much aware that over 2,000 horses die, horrifically, on American tracks each year; that 10,000-15,000 more are violently bled-out and butchered at horseracing’s singular retirement facility, the slaughterhouse; that racehorses are kept locked – alone – in tiny 12×12 stalls for over 23 hours a day; that they are bought, sold, traded, and dumped like common Amazon products; that 90-95% of them have ulcers; that – well, you know the drill. Perhaps Ms. Sohi knows all this – and just doesn’t care. But either way, gross incompetence or simple heartlessness (she does refer to the horses as “its” throughout), for shame, Seerat Sohi (and, of course, Yahoo Sports). For shame.
(full Yahoo article here)
Reblogged this on Armory of the Revolution.
I think it’s “pure ignorance” and she is a racist. (White boyfriend)!!! What else could you expect!!! Certainly hope someone contacts yahoo sports and clarify that she didn’t do much research on the “SPORT”. If killing is a sport!!!
I’m sorry but my opinion is that “Yahoo Sports” probably knows only too well of the history of horseracing, as well as the current climate of activism against the unacceptable abuse of using live horses in racing and wagering, and deliberately hired this paid writer to write a piece that would attract young people into this vile type of activity with the sole purpose of luring them into going into eternal debt betting on horses on TVG online. Remember this is the generation of young people born into a world of high technology; they are on their cell phones many hours of their day. Also, remember that giant corporations (the rich and powerful) are only prioritizing profits over everything else.
This article, the author & publisher should be relieved of their duties. The pure ignorance & arrogance here is unacceptable.
If she is a journalist, and if she were writing as a journalist, she would be reporting on the facts. This is an advertisement for the racing industry. She writes, in some ways, as though she could be writing ad copy for a video game, but of course she isn’t talking about playing a video game; she’s talking about living, breathing horses being forced to leap out of the starting gate giving her some sort of carnal thrill which is a perfect word to describe all sin, including the fleshly, self-centered, selfish and hostile environment of the horseracing world grubbing for money abusing horses. She is possibly going goofy from staying quarantined at home too long but that’s no excuse to advocate the sadistic, barbaric exploitation of live animals for a carnal thrill. Horseracing is carnal!!!! Young people (and people in all other age groups) would do well to aspire to a higher calling than the fleshly, self-centered, selfish and hostile mentality that is inherent in horseracing.
She may be suffering from the “shiny object syndrome” but that still is no excuse for advocating horse racing!!!!
Brava, Wanda! 100% agree, and well written.
She didn’t do her research and has made a miserable effort at being a “poetic writer”. She needs to witness what goes on behind the scenes, behind the curtain to shield the spectators from the horrific broken leg, the chain accross the gums of the horse to control it as it lead about, the whip, the unrelenting whip, the drugs, the bowed tendons, the auction corral, the slaughter house. All of this sometimes before the horse is even 3 years old. Yes, these animals are absolutely gorgeous and they are being forced “to run for their lives”.
I just left a comment on the Yahoo Sports facebook page. I noted the numbers you wrote about the horrible deaths on the track, horses sent to slaughter, etc. I asked that they be fair and not paint horse raising as the best thing since sliced bread. They are supposed to respond. We shall see.
Thank you, Laraine.
I have no words. Except,UN F’n BELIEVABLE. These people are sick pups.
I am nothing short of appalled. Ms. Sohi proves herself to be anything but a responsible — much less a good — journalist. As someone else wrote, this is, in essence, an advertisement for the horse racing industry, one for which I’m sure Yahoo was handsomely paid. If she’s bored, perhaps she should try running several laps around a race track, at top speed, a jockey on her back, whipping her to go “faster! faster!” while ignorant older and young people bet on the stakes. (Not at all a racist or misogynist comment, btw, as I would write the same if the journalist was Caucasian or any gender; I don’t give a damn about the color of anyone’s skin or gender with regards to this kind of writing, only about their level of undeniable ignorance and arrogance.)
She hasn’t a clue how evil & cruel horseracing is. There would not be many human sports people if we killed those that didn’t make the grade or got injured. People would be to scared to fail. Poor horses do not have the choice. Oh yeah they get doped too.
This is sad and shows the ignorance of the uninformed individual. Horse racing is just a profiteering game for a few wealthy owners. The horses are not having fun! It is a cruel practice under the name of “sport”. Horses are dying – so you can be entertained.
This woman is getting paid from someone to glorify this horrible sport!! These poor horses run in the horrible heat by getting whipped ! It’s absolutely disgusting and the racing industry needs to end!
Having now read the article in its entirety, I have to agree with Wanda: this is puffy, padded, paid advertising for a dying industry that’s seeking to curtail the fallout of its ever-hemorrhaging public image. And, it’s not a very good ad, at that. I suspect Ms. Sohi took all of her 26 years to “stumble into” horse racing because: A. human infants rarely get the urge to promote blood sports. And, B. until now, nobody was paying young sportswriters to do PR for same.
We’ve all witnessed every single existing racing industry insider openly and publicly plea for an insurgence of new, young fans/addicts to indoctrinate into this archaic animal cruelty. So it’s little wonder that Ms. Sohi fell into the clutches of marketers trying to capitalize on a pandemic. Perhaps her accounting of her sudden love of horse racing would be a tiny bit more credible if she (and Yahoo) allowed and engaged in any public dialogue about it.
Instead, it seems racing just bought some more ad space.
“Sportswriter Sells Out” is the real headline here.
This twatva millenial knows from NOTHING about either journalism OR her subject…..or anything else, it seems. Even MENTIONING her “white boyfriend” is a ridiculous way of dragging George Floyd and THAT issue into this.
Better to write to Yahoo and tell them to FIRE her and get responsible journalists, not wanna-be third-rate trash like this selfish, ignorant bitch.
Another unbelievably stupid writer who can’t be bothered with research before opening her uneducated mouth. Sickening unethical moron.
Two sides to every story. You and your activist friends must learn not everybody agrees with you!
Why don’t you focus on the Thousands of mustangs being rounded up and crowded into tiny holding pens HOPING to be adopted out!!!!
So much for your vision of horses living the way they were meant to be! You are in fact the ignorant ones, LOL!
Lucy, this site is focused on horses used and abused in the racing industry. BLM Mustangs are definitely in need of protection and rescue. Here’s a question for you: What are you doing to help pass legislation to protect horses???? Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Standardbreds, any other breed or type including BLM Mustangs?????
Lucy, WHAT exactly is your point? You assume that because one is concerned about race horses then one isn’t concerned about the mustangs and burros being rounded up and removed from our public lands? Are you really that stupid ( or are you a troll, trying to change the subject)? We, who work for All animals who suffer because of humans don’t require lessons from such as you. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Ladies, you should know better and let such drivel die.
Amen, Brenda! Thank you!
Some people are able to care about more than one issue at a time. Grow up Lucy…
Lucy, I contribute to a lot of horse rescue groups, ones rescuing wild equids from BLM pens, kill auctions, and such. I also contribute to various racehorse rescues. Beleive it or not, people can handle two semi related things at once.
Tu quoque. Don’t they teach logic in junior high anymore?
Many of the horses die and others end up on the slaughter roads to Mexico or Canada. Horse racing is a BLOOD sport supported by degenerates. Yes Sohi, I mean you.
Ms. Sohi has a Facebook page from what appears to be 2016. I’m putting her at about 17 years old. Yahoo Sports is nothing.
horse racing is horrible cruelty
I wonder if Seerat has had the privilege to see a horse snap both front legs completely off, or to snap an ankle so badly that the horse’s foot was at a perpendicular angle to her leg? Or to collide with another horse? Or to flip in the paddock while being saddled and crack her head open? Or to run in a blind panic and hit the rail and flip over it?
Wonder if she has had the chance to hold that “beautiful horse” that she romanticized and wait for the vet to administer the medications that will cause her to die within minutes because she snapped her ankles and crashed into the rail?
Wonder if she saw the exciting happenings of 3 jockeys crawling in the dirt trying to avoid the broken horses around them that were attempting to scramble to stand up on broken legs?
Maybe, if she had experienced these things like I had in the brief 6 years I was on the track, maybe she wouldn’t be so enamored and excited to see any more races. I know I couldn’t take it any more. And to those apologists that come on here to say maybe we should spend some time on the backside of the tracks, well- those are the things I saw on the track, and I can’t ever unsee them. That was more than enough for me.
Thank you, Peggy.
Youre promoting animal cruelty and abuse , you are very misinformed and have not researched the murky underbelly of horse racing which I suggest you do before wafting on about how glamourous and enamoured it made you feel.
Horses are drugged, made to run with injuries crippling them and beaten with whips and electrocuted to make them run faster…you wouldn’t hear that though as you were too busy cheering on these poor animals who are exploited for money and then killed and dumped on rubbish tips as they are no longer viable fro making their cruel trainers money!
Research it…then write about it!
Yahoo Sports is promoting horseracing which means Yahoo Sports is promoting and advocating everything that HORSERACING WRONGS wants to be made unlawful as in legislation against the cruelty and torture of race horses. SEERAT SOHI is simply a PAWN in a greedy corporate world of exploitation of anything and anyone that can be exploited for financial gain to their shareholders, et cetera! Ban horseracing! Stop promoting horseracing!
Yahoo Sports is for everything that HORSERACING WRONGS is against…!
Her evident lack of journalism skills was no accident here.😒
This woman is completely ignorant and should not be writing about something she knows NOTHING about. Even more shameful is using it as her platform on white privilege and racism. She needs to get a life and see the horror in horse racing. Seeing wild horses run free is majestic and as it should be. The people that continue to support this horrific sport, especially the ones that KNOW what’s going on are disgusting.
“The sense of entering into an ancient lineage…it sets off something carnal”.
You said it, Sareet Sohi, the appeal of racing IS to BASIC INSTICTS of humans – defined as subconscious urge, behavior, or intuition directed by PRIMEVAL, SELF-SERVING, IGNOBLE motivations.
Further, GREED and SELFISHNESS are two of the “base instincts” ingrained in the human psyche.
PS. And, Sohi, “the sight of a horse on the run is LIFE-GIVING, inspiring”. Really!!!!
But all too often your “life-giving” sight results in TAKING LIFE in a brutal and terrifying way.
Just another sad, delusional person trying to glorified horse-racing. Of course she won’t mention the facts that these horses are forced to run before they are fully developed, whipped relentlessly to go faster and faster, often given drugs to disguise injuries and sickness, left to rot in stables for hours, days and weeks at a time and, when they don’t win anymore, they’re sent off to the vile, cruel, brutal slaughterhouses of Mexico or Canada, where they face an equally vile, cruel, brutal death, then hacked to pieces (often whilst still alive) to feed some ‘person’ But never mind, she can wax lyrics about the ‘fun, sport and entertainment’ just like any brain-dead, pathetic racehorse owner, trainer, jockey and gambler.
What an utter trivial piece of shit written by an insensitive second rate author. Who could care less about the irresponsible treatment of thosehorses
Your article Seerat Sohi makes me want to run too. Away from the greed & selfishness of a society centered around pleasure at all costs. Entertainment with no regards to whom it hurts for the sake of escaping boredom. Get a life. Do something to help others in need because there is enough to do to better our world to keep us all very busy. Or just stay home & consume… Our choices make us who we are
This is truly pathetic. Horse racing is cruelty, with animals mistreated to death and treated as commodities. The last thing we need is young people to become fans of this barbary. Needless to say, only $ counts, and I’ve done my little bit by closing my yahoo accounts. I will never go to a Yahoo site again, because the number of hits is the basis for their advertising rates. I ask everyone else to also AVOID ANY YAHOO SITES. How truly ignorant. How truly sad. I hope Yahoo cans her.
Thank you, Les Golden!!!! I hate it that HORSERACING is classified as a sport. It is abuse of horses. The cruelty and torture is a daily practice. Killing wild game animals with guns is also called sport. Rodeo was advertised as “America’s #1 sport” for years; it is brutal, premeditated abuse and torture of domestic cattle and horses. All of these sadistic, barbaric “sports” need to be recognized as cruelty and torture!!!!!
That’s disgusting! We need to teach children how to treat right!