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NY Times Article on Stallions Retiring Early

The dollar amounts are pretty darn crazy.

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than you for that MHM. I don’t subscribe and I really enjoyed reading that. Well, it makes me sad. That is why I don’t follow racing like I did twenty or thirty years ago. They used to breed to race and now they race to breed.


You’re very welcome.

It is unreal how much money the horses can make in the breeding shed.

I’ve seen War Front at Claiborne in Kentucky a couple of times. And based on a little quick math, I think he had made something like $60 million in the breeding shed in between my visits, which were only a couple of years apart. That was just incredible to me.

And then at the other end of the spectrum are all the thoroughbreds that are being practically given away at the end of the season at the track nearest me.


Pretty much sums it up. :woman_shrugging:

Racing is going to be forced to change in the not-so-distant people. I have no doubt in my mind the public is going to shut the sport down.

The question is, will racing be able to survive and adopt a model more similar to the UK? Or will we just be toast?


I value your opinion, so I’m sorry to hear you say that and I sincerely hope you’re wrong. If racing goes, every other horse sport will soon follow. Right now, racing is PETA’s favorite target. With it gone, they’ll start looking at other horse sports (like eventing, which has a higher attrition rate–per start–than racing.) Within a decade horses would be animals mostly seen in zoos (if they still exist.) :frowning:


Wow, is that true? Is that for death or injury? I’ve never heard that before.

First – thank you for the gift link @MHM. It was nice to see what many racing participants have been saying for years put out on paper for all to see. It’s discouraging to read that even those at the top are aware, but won’t make moves to stop it.

I’ve wondered for a long time when it will come to a head; I remember a time when I was picking up OTTBs that their pedigrees were so varied and region specific. I could go down a whole shed-row without finding two that were closely related. Sometimes I’d find they were by stallions I’d never even heard of or knew existed. Now it’s harder, with fewer sires and the prolific ones being very prolific. We’ve lost a lot of genetic branches to commercial sires.

Count me in as another that’s shocked to read eventing has a higher attrition rate per start. I guess I never thought to compare the two - I’d love to learn more also - is that injury, death? And is it horse, or rider? Or both?

what I do NOT understand, is that with vet services so much better now, why did 2 year olds race 20 times in the 40s? And horses seem at least to have been tougher. Did unsoundness get bred into the mix?


I sincerely hope I’m wrong, too. And I completely agree.

The public perception of horse racing is SO bad, though. It’s this thing no one cares about until something controversial and awful happens. For example, the temporary closure of Laurel Park “after two horse deaths” blew up the local news cycle and social media pages. What the public doesn’t understand is that was a really proactive response on the part of MJC. But all the public heard was “OMG 2 horses died at Laurel!”

Carleigh Fedorka said it best: it’s always “defending an industry that wont defend itself.”


From the Jockey Club Fact Book:
in 2022 (previous years available) 45,830 Thoroughbreds raced in the U.S. for a combined 272,434 starts.

From the Equine Injury Database:
in 2022 (previous years available) the rate of fatal injury is 1.25 per 1,000 starts.

I’m not a diehard Eventing follower, but from reading the Chronicle and perusing the WTF thread in the Eventing Forum I can tell that the percentage of eventing horses being lost each year–per start–is higher than that for TBs.

Nearly everything about racing has changed since the 1940s.
In those days many states had racing year-round. Fields were smaller, so horses could get into a race just by entering it. Most horses spent their entire careers at one racing venue. The races that were offered were scheduled very differently.

Consider the logistics of trying to race a 2yo 20 times in 2023:
There are currently no races for 2yos in Jan-March.
I’ll use KY as an example because Keeneland’s April meet offers some of the first 2yo racing each year. You enter your horse–the race over-fills and you don’t get in. That may happen once or twice. Finally you get in. You now have 1 race in April. Keeneland closes.

Churchill opens. You’re hoping to race early. Most races–for each specific condition–are carded once, or at most twice, a month (there are a lot of conditions and they all need a turn–plus racing secretaries want to fill races and they assume horses won’t race back in less than a month.). Each time you don’t get in, you will need to wait 3-4 weeks to try again. If you’re lucky, you’ll race twice before CD closes in July.

Half the year is gone and your horse may have raced 3 times. You can perhaps do better if you’re willing to ship to NY, IND, MD, IL or CA for that matter (add $$ to the cost of racing–or $$$$ if you chose CA). But then you also have to consider the travel wear and tear on your horse.

This is a link to the index for the first month of the CD meet:
eqbHorsemenAreaDownloadAction.cfm (equibase.com)

As you can see, there are 3 Maiden races offered for 2yo colts and 2 races for 2yo fillies during that time. There are probably at least 50-60 2yos whose owners want to run in those races. So even though CD purposely “loads up” on 2yo races in the spring there are still plenty of owners who will leave disappointed,

I don’t think any horse owner wants to race a 2yo 20 times now, but even if they did, it would be impossible to do so, and soundness or lack thereof has nothing to do with it.


obviously, I do not know nearly as much about it as you do, I did use to follow racing pretty closely, considering there is NO racing in Mo, and there wasn’t as much on paper, and of course no computers. I watched my first Ky Derby in 1964 or 5. I ddn’t miss another till 1984 and I was at an out of town horse show. But I haven’t followed as much since the horses don’t stay in training. And as far as betting, I couldn’t win a bet in a two horse race. Heck in 1973, I switched to Sham!
I really admired Garrett Gomez, and when he quit and then died, it just stopped being fun. I still watch the triple crown races, but I barely know who is running any more. I had gotten involved with eventing, and that began to take up a lot of my time. I guess I just drifted away.
I wish you the best of luck in your racing endevours.


Does that just count the ones that died during or as a result of a race? There are certainly some that die outside of actual races.

A friend of mine had one drop dead at the finish line of the official work for a two year old sale last year. That was a bad day. For everyone.

The EID is for horses that are racing. It doesn’t count the number of TBs that die doing other things.


The top seller at this year’s Goff’s Breeze-Up sale (what they call their 2yo in training sales) went for 500,000 British pounds. Two days later the horse van was pulling into the new trainer’s yard and the colt got spooked at something, flipped over in the trailer, and broke his neck. :disappointed_relieved:

I am sorry to see racing go, but I think I am done with it. When I mentioned what happened with Forte with a friend that is not a horse person and does not follow racing he thought the trainer had just planned to dope up Forte to cover up the pain and race. him. Sad when the public still considers racing a dirty sport.

I just got done with spine surgery and the best pain control/relief for me was a belladona OTC homeopathic product that I got from Walmart. It out performed the narcotics for pain control. No doubt in my mind that trainers are aware of the homeopathic products that work for horses when it comes to pain relief. Better yet, racing does not test for them in pre/post samples so you will not get caught i/when you use them. Just an opinion…

Oof. Horribly sad. For everyone.

I know. I do not know why no one at CD asked Todd why he does not know what lameness in a horse looks like? He mentioned one site of his that in the past a horse did not have to 100% sound to race. That is scary thought to me. How many in in the TB racing industry feel that way? Even if you do not care about the horses you are cheating the population which gambles and states If state governments introduced legislation that made if a felony to race unfit/unsound horses for those reasons, would the percentage of breakdowns go down?.

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State governments are A)not going to get involved with horse racing and B) if they did want to regulate or already regulate it, are under no obligation to match regulations in other states,

Kentucky and California already regulate it yet a suspended trainer in one state can race in another. No solution there. The industry can do it themselves and, IMO, must do just that to survive.