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Jockeys are Doing Their Part to Save Horse Racing

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Lost in the melee and the aftermath of the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is the powerful story of how the jockeys have come together to do their part to save horse racing. These same jockeys, during and after the 2019 Kentucky Derby, landed squarely on opposite sides of the fence of what trainer Mark Casse and jockey Tyler Gaffalione are now calling “the incident”. Despite this disagreement on the Derby disqualification, the jockeys were all able to agree on one very meaningful subject and that’s the topic of my post today: riding crops should not hurt a horse. Every...
145th Kentucky Derby

Thoughts on the 145th Running of the Kentucky Derby

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The 145th, known heretofore as the craziest Kentucky Derby ever! I will endeavor to clear up a few questions I’ve been asked, and in the process bust a few myths and opine here and there. I’ll try to go in chronological order. Perhaps John Steinbeck said it best—even back in 1956: “This Kentucky Derby, whatever it is—a race, an emotion, a turbulence, an explosion—is one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things I have ever experienced.” Interviewing the “winning” connections: No, I could not see the race. From my position on horseback I stand behind the starting gate as the...
Thoughts on the Santa Anita Crisis

Thoughts on the Santa Anita Crisis

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The rash of catastrophic breakdowns that happened in a 6-month period at Santa Anita Park make it seem like racing fatalities are common. They are not. While it is true that there are somewhere around 50-60 training or racing fatalities per month at U.S. tracks (1.68 per 1,000 starts), it’s also true that there are nearly 3,300 human deaths per month due to automobile accidents. These 55 or so horse fatalities are spread throughout all of the U.S. tracks and so it is truly a rare occurrence to actually witness one, but it hurts your heart every single time....