Intercontinental Differences in Handling Horse Racing Issues

Published 2022/02/08

Intercontinental Differences in Handling Horse Racing Issues

On the tenth of January earlier this year, during the running of Race 3 at Ludlow Race Course in the UK, a piece of a railing was found to be positioned incorrectly, jeopardizing the safety of horses and riders and causing two riders to have to manoeuvre around the rail as described in this article from RacingFixtures. Nobody was injured and the rail was fixed by the time the hurdlers went around for their second lap but the case was noted and “fast-tracked” and the Managing Executive was given a steep fine of £3,500 for the error. This fine was levied by an independent, judicial body overseeing the sport from the outside. A random hurdle race in the UK where they noticed something amiss, acted swiftly and moved on, reported Offers.Bet.

On 1 May, 2021 they ran the Kentucky Derby in the United States. Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert won the race but over the next few days it was discovered that Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethazone, which in Kentucky is illegal on race day at any level as reported in BloodHorse.

The rules would technically call for the horse to be disqualified and placed last and for the trainer to be fined and suspended but the United States lacks an independently run racing commission to oversee such issues leaving the local tracks to fend for themselves with issues like these.

Medina Spirit, the horse, died on the racetrack during a routine workout in December. Trainer Bob Baffert has his legal team fighting so that he can continue racing horses. As of February 7th we still don’t have a finalized outcome for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, a champion horse is dead and his trainer is still fighting to continue to train.

Racing in the United States could learn a major lesson from the people who oversee racing in the UK. While the popularity of the sport has dwindled since it’s heyday back in the early to mid 1900’s, there are still plenty of people who want justice for the sport and it’s people. That starts with an independent committee who can oversee items, big and small and rule in a quick and efficient manner.