Today is Kentucky Derby Day, a day in which the The Big Lie is at its most obscene. NBC and mint juleps; “The Run for the Roses,” “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” But the truth is, today is but a hollow dog and pony show. Horseracing, everyday horseracing, is cold, violent, and merciless. And here’s another hard truth: Horseracing in America is not 100 disparate companies; it is a single entity. As such, a bet at one track is a bet at all; to patronize one race is to patronize all. In other words, if you support – watch, bet on – today’s race, you make possible the following.
(These lists – over 8,000 dead horses in case anyone was wondering – say nothing of racing’s many other wrongs, most prominently the intensive, unremitting solitary confinement to tiny spaces. Nor, of course, does this carnage reflect the fact that most racehorses active today will land in equine hell – the slaughterhouse – at the end of their usefulness. Need I go on?)