The Horses Are on the Track

Nothing quite compares to the mediagasm surrounding Saratoga every summer — and it’s not unjustified. The racing season is the only world class sporting event we have around here and the whole culture surrounding it is a big deal.

Who could blame TV stations for committing huge resources to live broadcasts or newspapers for literally wrapping every edition in Saratoga coverage?

But over the weekend we saw something unusual: a piece from Times Union columnist Chris Churchill calling out the racing industry on animal abuse and doping. He says that all it would take is a documentary like Blackfish to blow some of the shine off of Saratoga. This was one of the few times a local media outlet has done anything less than a glowing story about the track and racing.

Nobody wants to spoil the party, do they — but If you’d like to see what damaging reporting about racing looks like, see the devastating series Breakdown in the New York Times.

Being imperfect, I still enjoy going to the track and spending money. For the record, I also continue to love the NFL, even though I know the truth about how it sometimes wrecks the players. I just can’t help it.

So, don’t expect to see a lot of negative stories about racing around here. Not as long as it’s front page news and there’s money to be made.

2 thoughts on “The Horses Are on the Track

  1. Negative stories? I think not… the Capital Region has itself convinced that anything less than its annual “mediagasm” (coverage, I might add, that is PRECISELY the same each year; I’m convinced they actually just change the date on the story) would cause Saratoga to shutter its doors and trigger the tumbleweeds. At least The New York Times has the stones to examine the disturbing toll the “Sport of Kings” takes on both man and beast. Less a matter of imperfection; rather one of denial. But, you, know, Laissez les bons temps rouler.

    1. I was there yesterday and walked around wondering how many people in the crowd would go to a dog track. The abuse of greyhounds is well documented and we have a deeper emotional connection to dogs. Yes, we like horses, but they are more a commodity than a companion.

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