Friday, September 14, 2012

THANK YOU TO PSY for promoting horse sports!

Gotta watch it - - everybody will have their own take on this Korean hit "Gangnam Style". Maybe Psy's making fun of the rich who show off expensive horses among other things, but I like to think he's promoting the idea of horses for all, and the horse dance will certainly get you in shape for riding!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Racetrack as a Microcosm

Microcosm - a community or other unity that is an epitome of a larger unity. If you've ever worked on the "backside" of a track like Churchill Downs, then you know it's a world of it's own. I think it's a lot like the bigger world outside and if you start looking at the economy of the racetrack from top to bottom, you'll find a lot of things similar to the problematic US economy.

The basics are: the giant racetrack corporations (CDI) boast record earnings and are flush with cash, while racetrack laborers including hot walkers ($5/horse or $200-$300/week), grooms ($100/horse/week or $400-$500/week), and exercise riders ($15/horse or $500-$700/week) are making EXACTLY the same wages as 15 years ago. The vast majority of the laborers do not own a home, do not have health insurance and do not have any savings.

This problem is not all due to high employment taxes, and it's not due to trainers being cheap because most trainers are as broke as their employees. Of course there are exceptions with the few stables at the highest end with the "star" horses, but I'm talking about the proverbial 99%. I don't mean to pick on Churchill Downs and CDI but those are the racetrack entities that I am most familiar with.