OP/ED Authors:

Op/Ed

Op/Ed: Owning Horses and ‘Buying’ a Dream

Sam Hoskins, an owner, breeder, syndicate manager and ROA board member, gives us his view of how the reduced prize-money will impact racing in Britain From where we were back in the spring, to get racing back on was an incredible achievement and obviously everyone understood then that prize-money was going to be hit. Horsemen accepted that up to the point when it became clear that, despite media rights flowing, there was going to be largely no executive contribution from the majority of racecourses. The call for transparency over media...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: A Critical Step Forward for the Sport

When 27 individuals were indicted in March by federal authorities for their alleged involvement in a wide-spread doping scheme the story was about more than Jason Servis or Jorge Navarro or the cocktails of performance-enhancing drugs they were charged with using on their horses. It was about a system that was so hopelessly broken and incapable of effectively policing the sport that it took the federal government to come in and do what racing had continually failed to do--take meaningful steps to clean up the game. There had to be...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: Churchill Must Make Tough Call and Limit Derby to Local Jockeys

With Saratoga, Del Mar and a number of other tracks effectively eliminating jockeys from coming and going due to fears they will spread the coronavirus, attention now turns to Churchill Downs and the GI Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs President Kevin Flannery and his team are no doubt mulling whether or not they will put similar restrictions in place, effectively allowing only Kentucky-based riders to compete during the five days of racing. It's not exactly an easy call, but their number one priority has to be safety. And that means following...

[ Read More ]
Banning the Crop is Not the Answer–but Riders Need to Open Their Eyes

by Ramon Dominguez and Ryan Moore We have watched, with increasing concern, as momentum to effectively ban the use of the riding crop has built around the world. The negative perception of the crop is real and it matters. You may think it is overblown, the domain of activists, but those among us who dismiss animal welfare concerns will first find ourselves riding without crops, and then not riding at all. We shoulder some blame in this scenario. As riders we have failed--and fail still--to make a persuasive argument about...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: What is the Goal Behind the Cap?

I love this business and I am a true fan of the sport and an admirer of its equine athletes. I am fortunate enough to participate on a weekly podcast and occasionally write business-related articles for the Thoroughbred Daily News. Both forums enable me to voice my opinions on various topics including the recently enacted commercial breeding cap on the number of mares bred to a stallion annually. I also feel it is imperative to start this piece with a few disclaimers--I do not own a stallion, nor any shares....

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: If Google and Apple Can Work Together…

During the Great Depression, horse racing developed into one of America's favorite pastimes as it became a welcome distraction from the hardships and fears of the economic climate gripping the country. Horses like Seabiscuit, Equipoise and War Admiral rose to prominence as they captured the imagination of a nation seeking a break from the challenges and uncertainties of everyday life. Unfortunately, starting in the 1960's, racing began its slow trajectory towards becoming a niche sport. Unlike the NFL, NBA, NCAA or even PGA, it did little to integrate the advances...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: A Year Without Derby Makes Most Sense

A few weeks ago, I felt like a lone wolf howling in the wind (not the first time). I was calling for Keeneland to call off its April meet and for Churchill Downs to go ahead and announce the cancellation of the Kentucky Derby. Based on what I knew of the coronavirus spread in other countries and that it had reached our shores, it seemed obvious to me that within days we would begin cancelling events at a rapid pace. The first sports leader to acknowledge such was NBA Commissioner...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: All of a Sudden, the Only Betting Game in Town

In a way that nobody ever envisioned or wanted, the gambling part of our industry is about to have a massive social experiment imposed upon it: For the near-term future, betting on horse races will be pretty much the only form of sports wagering in America. In an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, professional basketball and hockey have suspended their schedules. Major league baseball's season opening has been pushed back. The NCAA basketball tournament has been canceled outright. Racing's response to the coronavirus has been different,...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: Cheating Will Stop With Harsher Penalties

Thirty-six years ago, I was dispatched to cover the annual gathering of the Association of Racing Commissioners (now ARCI). I had been covering Thoroughbred racing and breeding full-time for all of about three months. That night I found myself sitting at dinner with the head of a state testing lab. "I listened to the session on uniform medication," I told him. "Seems logical." "Never happen," he said matter-of-factly. "Every state has its own racing commission. Every state has its own testing procedures. No one wants to let go of that."...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: Oh the Places We Could Go

Pat Cummings is Executive Director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation "Oh, the places you'll go," hoped Dr. Seuss. There are reasons to be optimistic about the future of Thoroughbred racing in North America. Our future could be far brighter than the present, but it is all very conditional. A massive effort to modernize the sport is needed. "Modernization" does not just imply technological or other sorts of novel innovation, but rather, change to long-standing practices that will improve the outcomes of our sport for all stakeholders--horses, owners, bettors, fans, etc....

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: Clenbuterol–It Has To Be Stopped, And Now

Clenbuterol is the most abused drug in our industry. For anyone who does not know what Clenbuterol is, please read this: a synthetic drug used in the treatment of asthma and respiratory diseases and also in veterinary obstetrics. It also promotes the growth of muscle and has been used illegally by athletes to enhance performance. This drug is banned by every major sporting body in the world. The Olympic Committee banned it more than 20 years ago, yet it is alive and well in the Thoroughbred industry. The mind-boggling thing...

[ Read More ]
Op/Ed: Time to Double Down

Anne Sabatino Hardy is Executive Director of Visit Horse Country I didn't grow up around horses, but I did grow up with a gambler. My dad liked Craps and Blackjack mostly, and played well. According to family legend, during a high school spring break trip to Las Vegas, one successful late-night Craps game was punctuated by "Annie needs a new prom dress!" I can't verify the story (my parents had standards, after all--I was relegated to the room), but indeed my first prom dress was secured during a visit to...

[ Read More ]