Ranking of nations with respect to horse racing has undergone rather dramatic change. The glory of Epsom and Kentucky seem to be under attack as new centers of excellence emerge for the sport. Stable and horse breeding farm ownership patterns have shifted as well, with enthusiasts from countries relatively new to horse racing investing systematically in acquiring key assets in the traditional strong holds such as the U.K. Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Dubai are some of the places which did not have vanguard positions in the horse racing world of the 20th century, but which are now some of the most exciting places to follow events.
Horse racing in the United States lags behind other forms of recreation and online betting, though it has a fiercely loyal following amongst those who have experienced its pleasures and profits. The situation is better in some States than in others, which says a great deal for how regulators and administrators can influence the following of sports. The ancient traditions of horse racing and its multifarious benefits for places which have race tracks, call for its integrated development. Certainly, the United States must work hard to get on to the front line of international horse racing once again.
Insurance is a key issue, especially for jockeys. There are States with just one service provider, which has resulted in the most unreasonable increases in premiums from one year to the rest. This has jeopardized the financial health of race tracks and thrown the seasonal planning of some top riders in to disarray. Horse racing requires adequate protection for jockeys and reasonable returns for race track operators at the same time.
Prize money needs a fresh look as well. The costs of breeding and maintenance have risen over time. There is a need to make it attractive for more people, as well for joint groups, to invest in race horses. The Swiss have set an admirable example by keeping horses even as companions and pets. These courageous and noble animals have wonderful properties including an indomitable urge to compete and to race. The efforts and risks that go in to declarations for events deserve better returns for worthy winners.
Simulcast wagering and more comprehensive gaming and recreation amenities at race tracks, are the twin beacons of hope for U.S. horse racing. They have the scope for the support to raise the kind of revenues that will pay for insurance, prize money and all the valuable contributions that horse racing makes to local exchequers wherever it thrives. Horse racing also has the potential to draw punters away from pure gambling on chance and stakes on poorly regulated card games.
There are many beautiful race tracks in the United States. The country has seen some of the best riders in modern history, and has given the world some top blood lines. The attractions of our horse racing heritage stretch well beyond our shores. Simulcast coverage of U.S. events is followed with keen interest throughout the world. International followers and domestic enthusiasts can look forward to top quality horse racing if we take steps to improve the financial attractions for race track operators and for owners as well.