Monday, January 29, 2007


I used to be a big horse racing fan. I started going to the track while I was in college. Pasadena is home to Santa Anita race track, arguably one of the most beautiful tracks in the world. It also happened to host The Breeders' Cup while I was there in 1993. My roommate was already a big fan, so it didn't long for me to get hooked.

So I was sad to hear the news that Barbaro was finally put down today. It reminds me of the many times I saw similar happenings while at the track. It's seemed common knowledge back in the early 90's that the combination of heavy inbreeding and the use of "medications" (like Lasix) had severely weakened the breed. There were also numerous trainers notorious for running young horses into the ground all in the name of success in the Triple Crown. The most notorious (and arguably successful) was D. Wayne Lukas.

It's sad that nearly fifteen years later and things seem to have only degenerated even more. I was a little encouraged to see this article on ESPN about some possible reforms to the sport. I would have supported most of these ideas fifteen years ago, but they would have stood little or no chance. Maybe Barbaro's highly public death will motivate the industry. Probably not though. After all, none of these measures would have helped Barbaro. Plus, the horse racing industry is more concerned with slot machines than with the horses anyways.

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