Sixty-two percent of Americans polled by Reuters/Ipsos have a less favorable impression of horse racing because of a series of high-profile fatalities over the past year, culminating with the death of Mongolian Groom in the 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
The online poll surveyed 1,005 individuals, 74% of which said they had “heard of” horse racing, Reuters reported. Of those who were aware of racing, 38% said they like the sport, with 42% saying they do not like horse racing and 20% having no opinion.
Thirty-four percent said they had a “lot less favorable” opinion of the sport after hearing of equine deaths, with 28% “somewhat less favorable,” and 37% saying their opinions did not change as a result of fatalities. An early season spike in fatal injuries put a media spotlight on Santa Anita, which then spread to other states, including Kentucky, Texas, Maryland, New York and Florida.
The poll also asked whether individuals supported federal legislation that would regulate medication policy of racehorses nationally. The Horseracing Integrity Act, introduced earlier this year, would establish an independent non-governmental oversight board affiliated with the United State Anti-Doping Agency to establish medication rules, testing and enforcement on a national basis. Currently, horse racing is regulated on a state-by-state basis. Fifty-three percent of those polled said they supported such a measure, with 16% opposed to federal legislation and 31% unsure.
The recently formed Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, through the Glover Park Group consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., has done similar polling on the general public's attitudes toward racing. Though its results have not been published, sources have told the Paulick Report that the Glover Park Group poll found that roughly 20% of Americans are opposed to racing, 20% believe it is fine the way it is, and 60% want the sport to continue but with safety and welfare reforms.
Reuters is an international news outlet that dates back to the 19th century and is headquartered in London, England. Ipsos, formed in 1975, is a global public opinion and consulting firm based in Paris, France.
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