Huge Victory in California: No Subsidies for Horseracing

Tuesday, Prop 26, a sports-betting measure that would have provided a massive subsidy to California horseracing, went down in flames – rejected by some 70% of voters. This was a huge victory, especially with the record-setting amount of money spent by the prop’s backers, and we at HW were very much a part of it, both within a large statewide pro-animal coalition and on our own – op-eds, social-media blitz, etc.

To be sure, as California is (by far) the largest market in America, sports-betting is still likely to come. But know that we stand ready to fight back any proposal that includes a lifeline to the cruel, deadly horseracing industry.

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  1. HURRAH! Congratulations to Patrick, Nicole and the horses! This mid-term election was held on the last lunar eclipse of the year and that marks the ending of an era and the beginning of change.

  2. This felt so good to vote down, and especially with the money spent!!! We need to stay vigilant because they have a way of rewording Props to try to pass it again. Silent no more!

  3. From the time when I was betting on horse racing daily, and I am speaking of many years ago, [although I only quit betting last year] California racing was among the very ‘”best”, and of course, I am speaking only from a wagering opportunity point of view, not animal welfare. Because the racing was good, there were full fields, large purses, and a more than adequate betting handle to not only sustain the industry, but show a healthy profit as well.

    But that has all changed. Today, yes, the industry is dying.

    The caliber of California racing is now very poor, cheaters abound, and with the cheating comes the inevitable abuse of the horses. With a steady cocktail of illegal and dangerous drugs, among a host of other things, the “connections’ attempt to grind out their wins in a rapidly deteriorating environment. Santa Anita Racetrack sits on some very valuable real estate, so expect that it’s possible that some time in the near future, it may very well go the way of Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows – sold for redevelopment.

    Animal activists aside, no doubt the general public is telling the industry, if you can’t survive on your own, why should I spend my tax dollars to prop you up?

    I agree. Even when I was a horseplayer, I would not support subsides for horse racing.

    Sorry, horse folks, it appears that your day has come and gone, and like the animal circuses, dog racing, and the Sea Worlds, the writing is on the wall. Yes, it may take some time before the biggies like the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup are gone for good, but I will make a lofty prediction here:

    That is, by 2024 or 2025 at the latest, both Aqueduct in New York and Santa Anita in Arcadia, California will be shuttered and sold. These were once two of the biggest venues for horse racing in the U.S., and the closing of these two tracks will make it all that more difficult to get bills like Prop 26 passed in the future.

    Lastly, to any gamblers here that may be reading this site, I’ll repeat what I have said many times: The rampant cheating soured me on race track wagering for good. Forget the racetrack, as it’s nearly impossible to accurately handicap the races anymore. Take your business to the casinos. They will treat you very well and you can be rest assured that NO animals will be abused, hurt, tortured, maimed or killed.


    • Aqueduct may shut down and be replaced with the “improved” Belmont Park within the time frame you suggest, but I have my doubts that Santa Anita Park will be closed by 2025.

      • Wanda, you may be surprised. Although the Breeders Cup will be hosted there in 2023, the California racing industry took a big “hit” when Prop 26 was shot down.

        Okay, then, maybe 2026. Or 2027.

        But Santa Anita racing has been going steadily downhill in terms of numbers for a long time now, and it’ll only be a matter of time before the real estate it sits on is worth more than the racing product it puts out. People all over the country are gonna vote “no” to these racing subsides that this industry so desperately needs to stay alive.

        As for Aqueduct, the New York product isn’t much better, again, except for the big days, and moving a sh**t show product from one venue to another isn’t gonna help it survive.

        Bet on it.


        • I would be surprised if Santa Anita Park was closed and sold within the next ten to fifteen years. All of the California tracks should close. Many of the perpetrators of this gross injustice to the horses have been doing this for most of their lives. I would expect a lot more newsworthy events to take place such as Frank Stronach passing away and then his daughter, Belinda Stronach, would have to have some major changes happening in her life that would be considered newsworthy, not just gossip. Their 1/ST Racing is not going to fold in the next three years, in my opinion. I wish it would take a hit, but I think it is going to take longer than three years to completely fail.

  4. A huge victory!
    Thanks to Patrick, Nicole and all supporters of HRW or anybody who is against financially supporting horse racing, but remember this.
    Horse racing is a relentless entity and they want their dirty hands on these subsidies.
    They have always wanted the casino profits in California and even launched a lawsuit back around 2000 against the native tribes to control this money.
    The tribes hired attorneys and won in court, but horse racing, has been working behind the scenes to cut deals with the natives.
    People will have to be just as relentless as horse racing to make sure they don’t get this money because, we all know, this will be a disaster for racehorses.

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