Horse-racing industry trying to recover from downward trend

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A link to an editorial posted on the Thoroughbred Times website showed up on the Pack News Wire yesterday. It focused on suggestions as to what the horse-racing industry needs to do to recover from a downward trend.

A conference was held Sunday to discuss this decline and the strategies for recovery. Five factors in the decline were reportedly discussed – “competition, brand perception, dilution of the best racing, fan experience, and fragmented distribution.”

I guess by “brand perception” they mean the increased awareness in the public about injuries and what happens to too many horses that don’t make the grade or reach the end of their career – being sold into slaughter.

At least twice in the piece, the term “foal crop” is used. So does the industry call newborn horses its ‘crops?’ This raises a red flag for me. And it is noted that the foal crop could DROP to 24,700 in 2012. Are more than 25,000 horses or so born into racing every year? What is happening to those who aren’t cut out for racing?

So nine “goals for growth” were presented that the industry hopes will turn around its fortunes. The list includes more TV coverage, a free-to-play website, creation of social game and “racing integrity reforms” – whatever that means.

I read no mention of stopping the practice of selling horses off to slaughter or improving breeding practices or concerns for over breeding or increased concerns for the overall welfare of the horses or concerns about racing horses at too young an age.

The deeper problems with horse racing were either not discussed or not reported in the editorial.