OP/ED Authors:


Op/Ed: The King of Sports

Throughout the nation, the horse racing industry is under both increased scrutiny and pressure to reduce the number of equine fatalities and breakdowns. While progress has been made at many tracks, in recent years, i.e. Turfway, Woodbine, Golden Gate, and Gulfstream, there is less of a tolerance than ever for equine injuries and fatalities, as doping scandals have marred our most cherished events and as advocates and animal rights groups such as PETA have gained momentum. Horse racing is under real pressure to enhance safety, with many critics seeking to...

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Op/Ed: Corniche Connections Should Consider Dennis Diaz Wisdom

In 1985, owner Dennis Diaz had a decision to make after his runner, Spend a Buck, won the GI Kentucky Derby. Under ordinary circumstances it would be on to the GI Preakness S. two weeks later. But, as Lee Corso would say: "Not so fast." In this particular year, before the Triple Crown prep season had begun, Garden State Park owner Robert Brennan offered a $2-million bonus to any horse who won the track's two preps plus the Kentucky Derby and GIII Jersey Derby. Diaz and trainer Cam Gambolati sent...

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They Ran a Lasix Free Breeders' Cup…And Nothing Happened

The biggest story when it comes to the ban of Lasix in the Breeders' Cup is that there was no story. It was, simply, a non-factor. A total of 148 horses competed in this year's Breeders' Cup, all of them running Lasix-free. There were no reports of any horses being in distress or bleeding from the nostrils. I did not hear of one trainer blaming a defeat on the ban of the diuretic. Nor did I hear of or read about any trainers saying they were passing the Breeders' Cup...

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OP/ED: What's Next in the Fight to Ban Horse Slaughter in the U.S.?

For close to 20 years, activists have been working to protect American horses by lobbying for a federal ban on horse slaughter, rallying each year to keep the inspection of horse slaughter plants defunded and continuously working to pass the Save America's Forgotten Equine (SAFE) Act. The next 30 days are important in the push for a federal ban on horse slaughter. Every one in the racing business can have a hand in helping to pass a ban. In March 2021, the TDN interviewed veteran animal welfare lobbyist Chris Heyde,...

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Op/Ed: Guild Members: You Should Not Be Proud

Perhaps no collection of companies makes decisions based more on hard data, charts, statistics and actuarial tables then those that make up the insurance industry. Non-smokers get better rates on health insurance. Middle-aged drivers pay lower premiums than do those a generation or two younger. Those driving in Los Angeles traffic pay more than those who live in rural areas of the country. Apply for a term policy and the insurance company can list your premiums for the rest of your life. They know what the statistics show, based on...

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Letter to the Editor from James McIngvale: Where You Bet Matters

As handicappers and racing enthusiasts across America prepare to dive into this week's sensational Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, keep this in mind: Where you bet matters. It took 25-plus years of horse ownership and a $2.4-million wager for me to fully appreciate the huge difference it makes where a bet is placed. It was a wake-up call for me, and it should be for you. Everyone in horse racing whenever possible should put their money through the windows or self-bet machines at the racetrack. If you're like I was, you've...

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Op/Ed: HISA Necessary for Our Future

At the end of 2020, I was happy to hear that an important piece of legislation geared toward keeping our horses safe, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), was signed into law. I chose to support HISA because it will establish the same medication rules and penalties at every track in every jurisdiction in the United States, which makes for fair and equal competition, promotes equine welfare and punishes those who cross the line. This week, I read the news that the governing authority established by HISA announced its...

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Steve Asmussen Op/Ed: Please Do What is Right for the Racehorse

With heightened accountability for the health and welfare of horses, trainers today are being held to the highest of standards--as we should. However, we can see every day that race tracks and track ownership groups are not held to that same standard. A prime example is the unfortunate trend of closing a racetrack one day a week for training. This short-sighted cost-cutting move is not in racehorses' best interest. I feel that I've exhausted the proper channels to discuss this with people in charge of safety. We need all concerned...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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