Horse Health

Americans sour to sport on news of Horse Deaths: Reuters/Ipsos poll

By Rory Carroll as published on

Around a third of Americans said that a series of high-profile race horse deaths this year, many of them at Southern California’s famed Santa Anita Park, had soured their opinion of the sport, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos.

Horses race during the running of the Breeders’ Cup Turf thoroughbred horse race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California November 3, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The Dec. 18-19 online survey conducted in the United States found that when horses die from race-related injuries, 34% said they were left with “a lot less favorable” impression of the sport while 28% said it left them with a “somewhat less favorable” impression and 37% said it did not impact their opinion.

Among those familiar with horse racing, about 38% said they like it, while 42% do not like it and 20% said they have no opinion, the poll found.

The deaths of 37 racehorses at Santa Anita Park since last December has prompted government investigations and given momentum to federal legislation aimed at reforming the sport.

The deaths included four-year-old gelding Mongolian Groom, who injured his hind leg at last month’s nationally televised $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and was later euthanized.

According to the poll, more than 53% supported federal legislation that would regulate the kind of drugs that can be given to racehorses.

About 16% said they oppose federal legislation and 31% said they were not sure.

The Reuters poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,005 people, including 741 who said they have at least “heard of” horse-racing and knew that injured racehorses are sometimes euthanized.

7 replies »

  1. Why do they poll uneducated people about such a serious matter? Until such time that they educate John Q Public about horse racing. I feel the polls are not a true poll. I am disgusted totally by this discipline that puts MONEY before the horses welfare or care! They are born, stay with their moms a very short and moved to pens or pastures with foals of the same age. The green pastures of Kentucky horse farms on Derby Day with moms and babies is short lived! This is deceiving and gives false impressions! From the totler pens they are rushed of to a life of hell! Forced to be miniumly trained and over worked on their poor.fragile legs, ankles.and bones not fully developed yet! The best.that they can hope for is a caring groom who will care for them on their short time on this Earth. They sometimes literally run their heart and legs off for humans. And how do we repay them? Put them in disgusting claiming races to finish or break down. And then possibly given to.someone who doesn’t have the means to care for them! The suffering continues! Sometimes starved before the actual insult of going to an auction and then bought by a Kill Buyer to be sent to slaughter in Canada or Mexico! Even those that do well as 2 or 3 year olds sold to foreign buyers for large sums sucomb to slaughter if they don’t do well or they tire of them! It’s CASH.MONEY baby! A disgusting discipline that is NO longer the Sport of Kings, but the Sport of Death! These owners, trainers and vets have no SHAME! And do those who bet their $2 bucks know or do they care? NOT! As a horse owner to me it’s plain. STOP training and racing BABIES! Stop drugging them and pumping them with.every medication that they can with! And how about those that tried administering cocaine! Where is the love for these beautiful horses? No where! One death is too many! Insurance companies.should stop paying claims for multiple.deaths at race tracks! This is a symtom of a more serious situation. The racing industry needs a TOTAL over haul! But as I write this anyone reading this knows it will NEVER happen! Cash is King and as long as thats involved things sadly will NEVER change! But one thing we can hope for is the Passage of the Safe Act! Long shot but possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You speak the TRUTH HERE.. Cash is KING! It’s always about $$$, not about the innocent ones! Just makes me feel so very angry about the lack of priorities here. $$ are more important than the innocent horses that suffer at the hands of man???

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Exactly, Gail.
    And what is wrong with the hearts and brains of the 37% who said the deaths did not impact their opinion??? !!!


  3. Meanwhile, we are all going to pay more to prop up the thoroughbred racing industry (remember these fiscal conservatives when you vote next fall):

    McConnell flexes reelection muscle with $1B gift for Kentucky

    “I was directly responsible — directly responsible — for these items,” McConnell declared at the press conference.

    He also secured a tax break for Kentucky’s thoroughbred horse racing industry, $16.5 million for the Department of Agriculture to implement the pro-hemp provisions McConnell got into the 2018 farm bill and $61.3 million for new military construction projects at Fort Campbell.

    Steve Ellis, who tracks federal spending bills as executive vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, said that while spending items that go directly to Kentucky total $914.2 million, the amount is “easily going to exceed a billion dollars” when factoring in items that benefit other states in addition to Kentucky.

    Bourbon whiskey, thoroughbreds and hemp aren’t exclusive to Kentucky, but they are some of the state’s signature industries.

    Ellis noted the tax-relief provision allowing for three-year-old thoroughbred horses was not in the House spending legislation.

    “It is something that he clearly wanted because it was not in the House package and then got added in and is something that has been his pet initiative,” he said.

    “It’s clear Sen. McConnell took advantage of the push to get the bill through to grab all the cash he possibly can for the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Ellis added. “It’s Santa Mitch delivering the baubles for Kentuckians.”

    “I think it ended very, very well, particularly given all the contentious things going on right now,” he said, a reference to impeachment.

    Congressional leaders broke the spending package into two bills so Trump could live by the letter — if not the spirit — of his pledge not to sign another massive omnibus into law.

    But the size of the spending package left several Senate conservatives fuming.

    “Christmas came early in Washington,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) quipped in a Twitter video blasting the legislation.

    “While you were with your family, while you were shopping for Christmas, the lobbyists were spending and spending. I present to you, the massive omnibus bill that Congress is voting on,” he said.

    Liked by 1 person

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