How can we make the horse racing industry better?
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Horse races at churchill downs are set to move to ellis park in Henderson County beginning Wednesday, after the deaths of a dozen horses at the track since April.
“It isn’t just about horse racing, it’s about livelihood, it’s about economic impact and it’s about jobs, that’s what’s important,” says Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
Races at churchill downs will move to another track beginning wednesday, but one horse trainer says it won’t affect them much.
Adding that during his time racing at churchill he had no issues with the track.
“The move to Ellis is not a really big deal. It, it moves the schedule up about three weeks,” says well-known trainer, Kenny McPeek.
Some also say the attention is being focused on the wrong aspect of the sport.
“As horsemen, we also understand that at some point, there may not be any definable evidence that links the tragedies. So what does that mean? It, it means that these things do occur and as much as we try to prevent them, it’s never going to be zero. Yes, this is defined as horse racing, some even say it’s a sport, but at the end of the day, this is an agribusiness,” adds Hamelback.
For those in the industry, when injuries for horses do occur around or at the race track, it’s never easy to accept what could come next.
“When you’re dealing with livestock, you have to worry about them getting injured. Nobody’s more devastated when one of my horses breaks down it puts a knot in my stomach for an extended period. I can remember practically every horse I’ve ever lost, lost. And it’s just not any fun, and the notion that that others are more affected than, then we are is, is wrong,” said McPeek.
McPeek also adds there is also the notion of using drugs for the animal, something he says he’s firmly against.
“I’ve never been approached in my almost 40 years doing this by anybody with a drug that, that could performance enhance.
And if they did, I’d tell them to get away from me, we don’t treat horses to train, we don’t treat horses to work. We don’t, we’re not really giving them any medication to run,” he said.
McPeek also says education is a big part, and it would help if more people had access to races to understand the sport.