Dubious Scratching Can Hurt Horse Racing
Every move which hurts a horse racing punter’s handicapping, deserves strict censure. Scratching horses from events of flimsy grounds belongs to this area, because the nature of the competition has so much to do with sporting bets in horse racing. There can be genuine reasons to withdraw a horse from a race, but one has to guard against this provision being abused.
One possible ground for suspicion is the quick declaration of a horse very soon after it has been scratched from an event in the recent past on grounds of ill-health or injury. Horse racing really needs diligent veterinarians who do not certify horses as being unfit to race on questionable grounds, especially when they certify them to be fit to race shortly thereafter!
Knowledgeable and experienced horse racing lovers have noticed that horses with high or low draws on particular tracks tend to be scratched. This is often on veterinary grounds, so there is nothing that punters can do in the short term. However, they will eventually stay away from such sites and may even withdraw their support to horse racing in general. That is why genuine enthusiasts should ensure that unfair scratching of horses from events is put down with a heavy hand.
There may be some conflicts of interest between race track operators and the wagering public when it comes to regulating the practice of unfair scratching of horses from races. Theoretically, a horse which has been scratched from an event should not be allowed to take part in events again until its fitness has been established afresh. However, there are short term pressures to have more horses competing in some events, so operators sometimes tend to look the other way. However, spread of such practices will drive punters to other sports and forms of gambling, so it does not serve the long term interests of any genuine stake holders of horse racing.
Simulcast wagering has helped horse racing cross national boundaries, so it has become necessary to establish some common rules and conditions for matters such as scratching horses from events. An obvious step could be to appoint independent and authoritative veterinarians to determine whether race entrants are fit to take part in scheduled events.