Opinion | The stewards of horse racing face a reckoning – The Washington Post

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Regarding the June 3 Sports article “Churchill Downs pauses in wake of horse deaths”:
The recent suspension of racing at Churchill Downs because of the deaths of 12 horses since April 27 sounds well and good. The casual racing fan might think the racing industry cares about the welfare of the horses. However, as a former owner, I’ve seen racing behind the scenes.
Churchill Downs would not have suspended racing were it not for the negative publicity. Horses die almost every day on tracks across the country. Most of these deaths are never even mentioned in the media. Churchill Downs is not actually suspending racing. It is simply moving it to Ellis Park, a track it owns two hours west of Louisville.
Two of the major causes of racing fatalities are drugs and breeding. Some of the drugs are legal, but many are not. Most are used to mask pain. That creates a perfect storm: an injured horse running at top speed and feeling no pain. This is a disaster waiting to happen, and unfortunately, disaster often does.
David Von Drehle: Why horse racing is stuck in a very bad place
Breeding is also an issue. Horses are bred for speed, and many of the bloodlines do not produce sound horses.
In private moments, racing insiders will admit these issues are “just a part of racing.” This is true, and it forced me to change my view on racing. I no longer view racing as the “sport of kings.” I see clearly now that racing is a cruel and corrupt sport that should be abolished.
A favorite blog of mine put it so well: “You can love horses. You can love horseracing. But you can’t love both.” So true. So very, very true.
Rick Bowman, Wise, Va.

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