Posted by: Jay | May 6, 2008

Horse Racing Follow-Up

Some people were asking me about the sport of horse racing after my post about PETA.

1. Why use a whip at all? First, let’s be sure we know what kind of ‘whip’ that’s being talked about. Here is a good image of a jockey’s whip. As you can see, it is pretty flat, and doesn’t have the same kind of makeup as a regular whip that can really cause paid. These whips are more to get the horses attention more than anything else. Some horses don’t respond to a whip at all and you won’t see jockeys using them per the trainers instructions. Some horses actually get bored when they don’t see other horses around them and the jockey will need to use the whip to get them going. Others will drift at times. Many horses love crowds and would end up running along the rail on the other side of the track if not given a few whacks from the jockey. These horses are loads of muscle. Believe me, they’re not getting hurt.

2. Isn’t all that racing hard on these horses? I would say that there probably are some lower grade horses that probably race too much. But the better horses and the champion horses don’t run that much. Granted, the triple crown races are grueling because they all happen within the span of a month, but after the Belmont, the best ones won’t run again until August or September and then finally in the Breeders Cup in November. But these horses love to run. These are not the horses you see grazing in pastures along country roads. These are thoroughbred horses that are made for running. There are a lot of them that hate standing around in stalls. They want to get out and run.

3. Are the horses treated well? These horses are treated extremely well. In fact, in the world of horse racing, it’s often the jockeys that are treated the worst. Riding fees are not that great, and unless they’re riding a horse that finishes in the money (1st, 2nd or 3rd), the riding fee is all they earn. The top jockeys do make a great deal of money, but save for a select few, that’s after years of toiling away at smaller tracks riding in $4000 claiming races with total purses of $25,000. Most jockeys make $45-$50K a year and have to work extremely hard to keep their weight down.



  1. […] UPDATE: Jay has more here. […]

  2. Jay you are kinda talking out of your ass. Many of these horses have durability and leg strength bred out of them in favor of lightness and speed. Many are too young and underdeveloped to race and almost all of them are dosed with steroids and pain killers to get them to run injured. Horse racing is approaching dog racing in it’s utter contempt for animal welfare.

  3. Judson, that’s nonsense about breeding out durability and leg strength. There’s never been a horse bred purely for speed that has ever been able to win the Triple Crown, and aside from winning a Triple Crown race, only a Breeders Cup win stands above that. When you see the Breeders Cup, the horses you see in the sprint race didn’t come out of the Derby, Preakness or Belmont.

    As for steroids, that’s nonsense as well. The drug testing in horse racing is more stringent than in any other sport. Only approved drugs such as lasix (and that’s only in certain states) are used.

    You’re buying into the PETA drivel about horse racing.

  4. “steroid use is legal in horse racing in every state but Iowa”

    I’m with peta about 5% of the time. Most of thier actions are clownish and hypocritical. However, when you say ‘horses love it’ you or I don’t know what animals love or why they do what they do.
    Mostly animals respond to reward.

    The anthropomorphication of animals is short sighted and wrong. The days of making animals entertain us through forced competion or doing tricks are coming to an end.

  5. i am a fan of horse racing and sometimes i also place large amounts of money betting.’

    My favorite internet page

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