Shanklin: ‘Sensationalized’ NY Times story must lead to reforms

by | 03.26.2012 | 4:04pm

At Horse Racing Business, Bill Shanklin is among the many people reacting to this weekend's expose on horse racing in the New York Times, which particularly focused on Quarter Horse racing in New Mexico.  Shanklin says the Times may have taken a sensational slant with the piece in an effort to boost its flagging readership, and horse racing makes an “easy target.”  But Shanklin says the story points out valid problems within the sport as a whole, and those issues cannot be ignored:

“While justifiably railing against the New York Times may make you and me feel better, venting won't do anything except expend negative energy. People who genuinely care deeply about the sport of horse racing–and the animals and humans involved—need to reform the sport, regardless of whose toes get stepped on in the process. Especially work to rid the sport of race-day medication and the thugs who give racing a bad image. Especially do everything possible to make racing surfaces safer for jockeys and horses. If a racetrack surface temporarily goes bad due to weather, or whatever, cancel the day's races.”

“Horse racing will never be a 100% safe sport, and never 100% free of thugs, which also happens to be true of other sports and living per se. The reasonable and necessary goal must be to institute reforms, sooner rather than before it is too late. That way, horse racing will not be such an easy target for journalists looking to hawk their stories and do-gooders looking to bring down an elegant sport and large-scale agribusiness employing lots of people.”

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