Horse racing - still viable?

As is Canada. Thoroughbred racing gets the headlines, harness racing is popular at tracks in small towns and some large cities, but steeplechase? Nope.

Quarter-horse racing occurs here also, as it does in the US (no idea about quarter-horse racing outside of North America), but it seems to be at the bottom of the popularity barrel. My local track does do quarter-horse races occasionally, but while they attract bets, they don’t seem to be very popular with most bettors.

You know, I like to think that I have sensitivity to the plight of animals, especially the ones in our direct care. But, I’ve never been strident about it or changed any of my behaviors much.

Reading what you said here gave me an “Aha! moment”. I knew racehorses were being physically pushed and used just to make rich people richer but I also figured:

"Well of course they run them really hard and fast! That’s what thoroughbred horses naturally want to do! They love it!"*

You say how they’re constantly being bred to be lighter and more fragile. You add that the horses will run in pain and even run themselves to death. It’s so obvious to me now. The very business of racing has to be this way or it doesn’t make sense. Regulations might keep the most obvious abuses at bay but not much more.

It’s straight-up capitalism. Market forces drive capitalists to push absolutely as far as they can against laws and regulations, right up to the brink. Of course breeders, owners and trainers abuse racehorses and make them run in pain. It’s QED or whatever. Because if they didn’t, they know their competitors would and they wouldn’t be competitive. It HAS to be this way or they can’t make money.

Sorry—that’s a lot of poorly written ranting. I’m just mad.


Sadly, there are several sports where humans (often children) are treated the same way.

When the track here, Turf Paradise, has a meet it runs two (count 'em) Quarter-horse races at the top of each card daily.

Rillito Park down in Tucson OTOH runs quarters with the occasional Thoroughbred and Arabian thrown in. The track being a five-furlong oval, they’re all sprints.

There are two Quarter Horse tracks in New Mexico, Ruidoso Downs and Sunland Park.

So far as I know there are no exclusively Quarter tracks in California.

The Saratoga track has steeplechases, with nine stakes scheduled for the upcoming 2021 meet. But there are very few of them overall. It’s probably because bettors shy away from it – the jumps throw in a wild card that makes handicapping more difficult.

Interesting to see this thread after the last four days I’ve had; Got a rush request to fly and model an existing track, then redesign a new one 10’ longer (original track was just short of 3/4 mile). 16 hour days trying to get it all done under an impossible timetable. So here at least (Gillette, Wyoming), yes, apparently viable and profitable.