Former congressman Tom Rooney has been tabbed to succeed Alex Waldrop as the head of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. (Waldrop, you might remember, infamously admitted to USA Today that multiple thousands of his industry’s beloved “athletes” are being bled-out and butchered every year.) Rooney, no surprise, is desperately trying to put a positive spin on all things racing. In an interview with Thoroughbred Racing Commentary, in addition to touting the ratings for a single race (the Derby) among thousands run each year, he fondly recounts his trips to bustling Saratoga and Keeneland this summer/fall, as if those two tracks are somehow representative of American horseracing. They’re not. It was his answer to the final question – “If you could change one thing in racing, what would it be?” – however, that was most revealing, and, in my estimation, damning:
“Racing has gone through huge changes in safety and welfare over the last decade and now we have HISA on top of all the advancements. We need to keep up the progress in these areas and we need to reassure the public and government leaders that we’re doing everything we can to protect the athletes.”
Imagine. Only over the past decade – a blip on this industry’s century-plus history – has Racing gotten serious about “safety” and “welfare,” and “protecting [its] athletes.” Never mind that the kill numbers haven’t changed in any significant way. Our lists are proof of that. This newfound emphasis is simply a function of exposure (us, primarily) and the bad press that that has engendered; it has nothing at all to do with concern for the horses. These people are as transparent as they are shameless.
(One of our longtime readers/supporters, Carolyn McDonald, has already left a comment on TRC; please consider doing the same.)