Why I became a fan of Horse Racing – before the ‘Sport of Kings’ killed the Goose that laid Golden Eggs

July 11th 2018

My latest US Racing article “Why I became a fan of Horse Racing” can be accessed by clicking on the previous hyperlink or HERE.

After you read the above article, to get a real feel for that era and what I felt, watch this video below–Howard Cosell interviewing Steve Cauthen going for his 1st Kentucky Derby. 

Cauthen doesn’t even look like he is shaving yet. It seems so surreal today. Cauthen wins the Kentucky and then the Triple Crown on Affirmed.

<insert long pause while I channel my emotions>

Sadly, the Golden Era of horse racing was the 1970s when I was growing up. There will never be another Golden Era like it. This era was before the Sport of Kings killed the Goose that laid Golden Eggs. A time before breeding rights became so lucrative it retired its stars early.

And you don’t even have to be a huge star to get retired early, just win a couple of Triple Crown races and lose the Belmont Stakes and the star performer, who you would like to root on further, usually gets retired to the breeding shed.

In case you haven’t heard, yesterday Justify has officially been taken out of training for swelling in his left front ankle. Read between the lines here folks. This, while I am sure its true, will be nothing more than an excuse to retire Justify early.

Justify is estimated to be worth $100 Million dollars by virtue of his $75 million dollar breeding rights. The cost to insure him to race has been estimated to be 3 to 5% of his net worth. That is $3 to $5 Million dollars. 

My guess, if Justify is not going to be retired soon, he won’t race in anything less than the Pegasus World Cup with its $16 Million dollar purse. And I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one as Justify’s racing expiration date was thrown around as the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The sport of horse racing was one of the top three sports at the turn of the 20th Century and now the sport wonders why it has faded and fallen behind so many others sports today, many of which weren’t invented at that time or were nothing more than a local college sport or a gym activity after the fact.

So what’s mostly wrong with the sport of horse racing? See video below for the hint that kills every good sport.

To cut to the chase more specifically. The real reason? Rich men, with too much money, tax write-offs and no damn common sense. How did Secretariat’s progeny fare? You can’t buy a Triple Crown on breeding alone. See Zenyatta for your latest example. Yet the insanity and ludicrous spending on breeding rights and yearlings continues.

If President Trump wants to make “America Great Again” I think the sport of horse racing shouldn’t be ignored.

Stepping off my High Horse…