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Top 10 Reasons Why Horse Racing is Stupid

Updated on May 22, 2012

The Horses are inbred to a dangerous extent

Inbreeding weakens the genetic strain of any animal. Thrououghbred horses are particulary at risk. All thoroughbred horses racing today have been traced back to only 28 animals (3 stallions and 25 mares) imported from the Near East during the 17th and 18th centuries. Ever heard of Darley Arabian? 95 per cent of all thrououghbred racing horses descended from him.

It's all about the gambling

Horses are built to gambol, humans evidently prefer to gamble. Turn off the betting and the entire industry dries up. Certainly uber-rich sheiks and bored billiionaires will continue to breed horses for amusement, but no public racing venue could possibly survive. No one goes to the track just to watch random ponies run in a circle.

Familes and lives are ruined

Betting benefits no one except the house. Inveterate gamblers with no self-control chase an impossible dream of getting rich by picking which animal will win a race. Mortgage payments are lost on sucker bets. Families lose their financial security.

Real Estate is Wasted

Race Tracks are built in suburban areas that would be better served by a park or a shopping mall or government housing. The amount of money lost to taxes alone is huge. Certainly a race track pays real estate taxes, but developing the land into more useful applications would result in a much higher rate of return to taxpayers.

Crime Comes Along for the Ride

The majority of participants are probably honest citizens, but gambling attracts a certain element that has little respect for obeying the law. A desperate gambler who plans to make a living betting on the ponies just might take advantage of any opportunity to raise a few dollars for that next race.

Several Kentucky legislators were 'stung' by the FBI when they accepted illegal inducements to support horse-racing legislation. Titled Operation BopTrot, the operation cost (Democrat) House Speaker Donald J. Blandford his job and some of his freedom. He was sentenced to 64 months for extortion, racketeering, and lying to FBI agents because he accepted a bribe and agreed to influence horse racing legislation.

It's not a sport

The jockeys get dirty and sweaty, but nobody will pay to watch me mow the lawn. It's all about the animals: the best jockey on the slowest horse has no chance against the worst jockey on the fastest horse.

The Horses are Whipped

Jockeys do not carry a whip for the purpose of keeping flies off their silks. That whip has a specific purpose when those beasts are pounding down the stretch nose-to-nose. For some reason, a horse in which millions of dollars has been invested is thwacked mercilessly at crunch time.

Taxpayers Subsidize the Hobbies of Millionaires

In 2007-2008, the Commonwealth of Kentucky poured 28 million dollars of taxpayer monies into programs designed to prop up their horse breeding industry.

Taxpayers Rebuild Horse Farms

Our US Federal government supports horses and horse farms impacted by natural disasters. Taxpayer money funds the U.S. Equine Disaster Relief Fund that comes to the aid of those who would race horses for profit.

The Farm Service Agency, a subset of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers emergency loans to equine operations that raise thoroughbred horses.

Taxpayers pay just to count all the horses

In 2011, the Commonwealth of Kentucky contributed 300,000 dollars to a project intended to simply count all the horses within the borders. The total cost of the project was budgeted to be $600,000.


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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @PrometheusKid: That's a good point. The horsies can run faster but their legs snap like twigs.

    • PrometheusKid profile image

      PrometheusKid 5 years ago from Heaven

      With all that breeding of superior horses I expected super horses to show up already according to evolution.

    • Caleb DRC profile image

      Caleb DRC 5 years ago

      Hi Nicomp, You bring up some very good points in this hub, and it was well worth reading. I was not aware of much of the things you brought to our attention.

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 5 years ago

      Interesting. I hate when the government subsidizes private businesses most of the time. It is welfare. Do you know what happens when you force welfare recipients to stand on their own two feet? Grown adults throw whiny little temper tantrums.

      Corn subsidies are ridiculous. It's good if you farm corn in the Midwest, but if you farm sugar beets in Eastern Montana, you can't hardly compete. This subsidy takes from some farmers to give to others.

      In Montana we were giving welfare to outfitters, but through a grassroots petitioning effort we put an end to it. Local businesses and our tourism income has improved.

      Horse racing isn't anywhere near a commodity; I would be surprised if one could justify subsidizing this private business.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Unfortunately, horse racing and breeding is just about the only thing saving these magnificent creatures from being shipped to France or Canada and eaten!

      Horses are a lot like cats, you either love them or hate them. Not a lot in between. I really wish there were room enough on the planet for horses to live and run free.

      Humans are just taking over the planet and to heck with all of the 'lesser' animals.

    • mrsaxde profile image

      mrsaxde 5 years ago from Southern Delaware

      There is so much wrong with this hub I don't even know where to begin....

      1) Inbreeding? There are 3 foundation sires of the thoroughbred line. The Darly Arabian is one of them. And he goes back to the early 1700's. How many generations do you suppose have passed since he sired his first crop? My wife and I discovered some years ago that we are 4th cousins twice removed. Know what that makes us? Hardly related at all...just like today's thoroughbreds and the Darly Arabian.

      2) All about the gambling? There are a lot of races that are held at county and state fairs and the like that don't permit betting.

      3) Ruined lives? If someone has a gambling addiction, they will find a way to do it, legal or otherwise. And if you think horse racing "benefits nothing but the house" you truly do not understand pari mutuel wagering.

      4) Wasted real estate? I guess farms are wasted real estate, too. Let's pave over them while we're at it. Horse racing, and the associated breeding and farm activities preserve valuable open space.

      5) Crime. See my comment #3. And if you think that racing interests are the only people who bribe politicians, let me introduce you to former congressmen Randy "Duke" Cunningham and James Trafficant.

      6) Not a sport? You make that claim, then talk about good/bad jockeys and good/bad horses. Doesn't make sense to me. Is figure skating a sport? How about golf?

      7) Whips. There are rules for using them. Jockeys will get suspended for overuse of the whip. And if you are not riding, you are not making money, so most jockeys worth anything are careful in this regard. I will say this: this part of your hub may be the only part where you may have a point. There is an ongoing discussion in both thoroughbred and harness racing about whips and their use.

      8) Taxpayer subsidies? Drop in the bucket compared to subsidies of oil companies. Again, keeping the racing industry going provides jobs and protects farmland and open space. I could make a list of all the stupid things taxpayers subsidize, and horses/racing would be far down that list, if on it at all.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Robert Urner 49 minutes ago

      The absolute worst hub I have ever read!!!!

      Real estate? Well, lets dismantle all sports for this reason!

      Crime? Get your head out of your {redacted}. This isn't the 1950's

      Taxpayers? Do you know how much money the Kentucky Derby brings into state and how many people it employs. Do you have any idea how many people the industry employs all over the world?

      Are you going to attack the Bull fights next? Or Golf?

    • eric-carter profile image

      eric-carter 5 years ago from Fulham, UK

      Great hub! Horse racing is more than stupid ..

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @drbj: uh oh.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Watch you back, nicomp. Those race horse owners and race-track supporters may not appreciate your denigration of the 'sport of kings.' Had no idea so much tax payer money was being used to subsidize the sport.