I’ll Have Another
Will there ever be another Secretariat?
Yesterday’s stunning announcement that Triple Crown contender I’ll Have Another was pulled from the Belmont Stakes posed a question that has befuddled horse racers and bettors alike: will another horse ever win the Triple Crown?
Here are some reasons why the Triple Crown and horse racing’s popularity in general, are falling.
1) Injuries are Common, Unexpected, and Devastating
Thoroughbreds are easily injured and disabled during strenuous practice and long races. According to the International Veterinary Information Service, over-exercising horses “at fast speeds has been implicated”¹ in fatal horse-racing injuries. Unfortunately, this sort of stress is often necessary to produce a winner. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “A trainer has a better chance of screwing up a horse by either overtraining or undertraining. Usually, it’s overtraining. “² Horse-racing injuries have changed the sport for the worse, shaming trainers, decreasing the chances of a horse enduring three Triple Crown Races in first place, and making the sport much more ambiguous and unpredictable.
2) With Few Chances of a Triple Crown Winner, The Public Loses Interest
The general public’s interest in horse racing grew when I’ll Have Another won the first two Triple Crown races. However, when he was scratched from the Belmont Stakes, people lost interest again. According to Bloomberg News, “Without I’ll Have Another, the race figures to draw fewer viewers on NBC, which said it is ‘working now to adjust the game plan accordingly'”³. Because there is a very small possibility of a Triple Crown win in the futures, most people will care little about horse racing. Fewer people will come to the racetracks or watch it on television.
The future of horse racing looks to be quite bleak. Unless there is a way to prevent injuries and find another horse that will win the Triple Crown, horse-racing may become a forgotten sport reserved for washed-out gamblers and bettors.
1. Wilson, Julia H., Kristin K. Shaw, and Vickie King. “Thoroughbred Racing Injury Rates Are Inversely Associated with Trainer Success.” Ivis.org. International Veterinary Information Service, 1997. Web. 9 June 2012. http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/aaep/1997/Wilson.pdf.
2. Rini, Tony, and D’arcy Egan. “The Triple Crown Is Unlikely to Be Accomplished by a Horse of the Future.” Plain Dealer. Cleveland Live LLC, 8 June 2012. Web. 9 June 2012. http://www.cleveland.com/horseracing/index.ssf/2012/06/the_triple_crown_is_unlikely_t.html.
3. Levinson, Mason, and Eben Novy-Williams. “I’ll Have Another Retired From Racing After Belmont Scratch.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg L.P., 08 June 2012. Web. 09 June 2012. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/i-ll-have-another-is-out-of-belmont-stakes-trainer-o-neill-says.html>.