The Horse Race and Politics

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, horse racing has evolved from a primitive contest of speed or stamina between two horses into a spectacular sport that draws bettors and spectators from all over the world with staggering sums of money up for grabs. The basic concept remains unchanged, though: The horse that crosses the finish line first is declared the winner.

Despite its long history and enormous global appeal, however, horse racing is a troubled business. The sport is plagued by drug abuse, a culture of dishonesty among some owners and trainers and the general sense that it no longer holds the interest of much of the population.

It’s a challenge that the industry must face head on. It will require a change of attitude and culture, not to mention better regulation and training techniques. It will also necessitate increased funding for enhanced drugs testing and legislative efforts to improve the oversight of trainers, veterinarians and others in the horse racing industry. And it will mean an end to the insider’s code of silence that has enabled abuse to go unreported for so long.

While many people may be sickened by the fact that horse races feature drugged and abused animals, few seem to care that the industry is riddled with a culture of dishonesty and corruption. The industry must stop denying this truth, which is the reason behind the growing hostility toward PETA, and take steps to clean up its act.

The horse race metaphor is a common one in politics, and this election has certainly felt like one to some observers. With all of the mudslinging, name calling and attack ads, it’s easy to get distracted by the noise and lose sight of what is truly at stake in this campaign.

As a result, some politicians have taken to using the term horse race to describe any close form of competition. With a presidential horse race as competitive as this one, the use of the term is likely to continue, and its meaning appears to be shifting again.

In the Preakness, eleven horses lined up and broke cleanly from the starting gate, running a mile on dirt that was a bit deep and slow. War of Will took the early lead, followed by Mongolian Groom and McKinzie.

As the pack approached the clubhouse turn, you could see that the race was tightening up. But by the time they reached the stretch, it was clear that War of Will was tiring, and at the top of the final incline, a sudden move from McKinzie put him ahead.