Will it Help Horse Racing?

Horse racing is under attack! The nuances of this sport are not widely known everywhere. Pressures on land motivate most attempts to shrink the literal and figurative space we are willing to set aside for the sport. Many top race tracks have been swamped by fair grounds and modern forms of entertainment. There are non-financial values of breeding and raising horses, which find no place when accountants compare opportunity costs of horse farms.

The misleading connections which people unfamiliar with horse racing make with sports betting and malicious gambling hurts the sport as well. We must thank President Bush, whether we agree with him on Iraq or not, for excluding horse racing from the ban on online gambling!

Flat racing is better off than harness racing, though the latter is no less deserving of preservation as a symbol of classic outdoor recreation. Thoroughbreds have been the preserve of monarchy, and the scene is dominated by the wealthy even today. However, harness racing celebrates the pastoral heritage of North America, and is not practiced on other continents. The Emir of Dubai or the Aga Khan have never extended their love for horse racing to this plebian version of the sport, though it calls for matching or even greater skills.

Canada is a key horse racing country, but its role in keeping harness racing going is simply irreplaceable. Therefore, the decision of the owners of the Tartan Downs Raceway to sell their invaluable property to Racino Royale is a potential blow to Nova Scotia, if not the entire world of equine sports. Racino Royale has affirmed that it will keep harness racing going in Sydney, where the Tartan Downs track is based. However, the kind of entertainment which this company normally promotes is quite far from horses! The connotations of the name ‘Racino’ are not very confidence inspiring for die-hards of horse racing! We can only hope that the due diligence process does bind Racino from abandoning horse racing at the Tartan Downs. The latter has served the Sydney community ever since the Word War II years. It is bang in the middle of city, and precious in real estate terms, apart from its horse racing value.

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