Watched Bryant Gumbel’s HBO Real Sports show late one sleepless night. The show was about the big business of horseracing in America, about the casualties and deaths and about how in Europe there are no horseracing deaths. In Europe the horses are smaller because they aren’t pumped with drugs to make their bodies too large for their bone structure resulting in broken legs on the track.
My daughter and I love the Kentucky Derby. Every year she calls to remind me it’s Derby Day! We love the stories of the beautiful horses, the jockeys, the talented trainers.
Real Sports focused on a horse from Arkansas. It didn’t pinpoint Arkansas, it just happens this particular horse was an Arkansas horse. Many Arkansas horses end up at Churchill Downs the first Saturday in May, if not in the main race then one of the others.
We first saw the horse in a race not doing so well. Then we are told he is sold to the slaughterhouse by his people. The same people who took him for early morning walks and training sessions, who bathed and brushed him and made him feel special – those people!
Then we see the horse being herded into a confined area and beaten over the head, strung upside down legs flailing, the same legs that tried so hard to win his races. Throat slit, blood dripping.
Probably won’t be watching any more horseracing. Of course this isn’t the fate of all horses, especially the more successful ones. They get to spend their days in green pastures. But as was explained, this is a well-kept secret that happens in every state.
It might be a good practice to at least occasionally look behind the glitz and glitter of the events of this world.
If only I hadn’t seen that show I could go on pretending everything was just fine with horseracing, I could continue to be entertained by horses.