The 139th Kentucky Derby was held yesterday, and I now have to read about it on all the various sports websites I frequent on a daily basis. If I didn’t know better, I would assume that horse racing is some kind of an athletic contest between, well, athletes. It’s not an athletic contest, and it’s not a sport. The only athlete involved in any horse race is the actual horse, and they’re not even people.
No horse in a horse race chooses to complete, they are forced into it by whoever owns them. They’re not athletes, they’re property. A horse is no more an athlete than Jeff Gordan’s Chevy SS is an athlete.
If the horse isn’t the athlete, how about the jockey? No, they’re not athletes either, unless beating an animal on the rear-end with a ridding crop is somehow an athletic activity. That’s all they really do, that and making sure they’re still sitting on top of the animal at the end of the race. Then again, they can’t beat the horse with a ridding crop if they’re not actually ridding the horse. They also have to work hard at making sure they weigh no more than 126 pounds. That’s for the Kentucky Derby. In most horse races, they can weigh no more than 110 pounds.
Horse racing isn’t an athletic sport, it’s animal cruelty. It’s no more a sport than dog fighting or cockfighting. The only real difference between horse racing and dog or cockfighting is that in dog or cockfighting, the losing animal usually ends up dead. That’s usually not the case in horse racing. Then again, horses are killed all the time in horse racing, some never even leave the track before they are killed by their owners. Horses are killed even in pretend horse racing. That awful HBO drama Luck was mired in controversy over the fact that horses were routinely abused, resulting in the death of three different animals.
One day, horse racing will be banned, much like other forms of animal cruelty are also banned. It may not be anytime soon, but one day, it will join the ranks of dog fighting, cockfighting, and bull fighting.