Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Off and Racing

After a discussion with R about the morality of horse racing because of the shocking exposure of Queensland abattoir workers treating horses about to be killed very cruelly, along with the fact that horses are whipped while racing and often have to destroyed after falls, and being tortured with electric shocks, we were doubtful about having our annual bets on Melbourne Cup Day. It is probably not viewable overseas but here is a link. It is only for the strong hearted to watch.

I can't say I've thought much about it in the past. I had no idea of the huge numbers of horses being bred for racing purposes and fail to ever run a race. I suppose I thought there was a rather limited number of race horses and it wouldn't be hard to retire them to life on a property somewhere.

Not so. Many many horses are killed after their racing careers have ended and most who don't succeed in racing at all are too. It seems such a waste.

I don't have a problem with animals being humanely killed for meat consumption and so my argument is that if this is to continue, there must never be scenes again as was shown. I can't see any real distinction between a winning horse or one that is useless at racing, but perhaps it is like being attached to pet. God knows what happens in some countries where race horses are bred.

This is purely anecdotal and just a feeling I have. Something has changed in Melbourne on this Cup Day holiday. We did end up placing bets and when I collected the blank tickets to mark, there was one person in the TAB (betting shop). We returned with our tickets to lodge our bets and there was one person in the TAB. This is unheard of. One more arrived as we left.

I wanted to go to town to absorb some of the atmosphere such as I have photographed in years past but R wanted to go to Prahran to pick up his new contact lenses. I decided to go with R. I remember years past our foyer would have people dressed up and waiting around for others, so many at the tram stop heading into the city to catch the train to the races, trams full of women with beautiful hats and outfits and some very well groomed and nicely dressed men. This year I saw one race day dressed man leave a taxi and head to the tram stop and we saw three women in South Yarra dressed for the races. Not one person on the tram on the way home heading for the races. I suggest it is a rather subdued Melbourne Cup this year.

Here are a few photos from years past. Two are from Oaks (Ladies) Day on a Thursday, while Cup Day and Oaks Day are all about colour, Derby Day before the Cup is all about black and white, but there often some rebels or ignorant who attend in colour. They won't be in the posh areas if they are in colour.

Oaks Day punters heading to Flinders Street Station.


Waiting for friends.


Waiting for the train.


Ready to surge on board. Cup Day attendances are usually around 100,000 people and the majority travel by train, perhaps for the only time each year.


Centre Place.


So the enjoyable experience of putting the bets on went ahead and watching some races but neither of us has contributed to the coffers of the racing industry as even before the cup has been run, we are ahead, in my case substantially. Ok, it is not moral, but at least we have taken money from the industry. Now we will just await The Cup attendance figures and hear all the reasons why numbers were down, ignoring the bloody obvious. It was a wonderful day weather wise, coolish and sunny.

$2 for the win and place on each horse for each race, and an extra horse in The Cup. Total $44. Check back a few hours later and I will up date with a brag or lament about my winnings.

Such a serious matter. Let me end with something I found rather funny. We were about to watch the fourth race when R asked me to check which horse he had put his money on. Ah, I said, we both chose the same horse, Accrued Value. He replied that he was sure he didn't choose that horse. I rechecked. Have you worked it out? Accrued Value was the progressive total moment amount as the bets were put through the machine that takes the slips at the TAB. I is idiot.

Later edit: Profit for me $27 Profit for R, about $20

38 comments:

  1. Thought About You Two Last Night As The Holiday Event Was Televised Here In The States - Amazing Atmosphere Leading Up To The Event And Appreciated All The Songs - Including The Men At Work Instrumental By The Orchestra

    On A Positive Note, There Is A Ranch Near By That Rescues Retired Racing Horses - Open Fields For Walking, Well Feed, Groomed, And Treated With Dignity

    Tell You What, Those Horses Are Powerfully Massive - But Those Eyes, So Life Like With Pure Content - Refreshing For Sure

    Enjoyed The Photos!!
    Cheers

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    1. Padre, it was not a bad spectacle. It starts off well but gets rather messy by the end of the day. See Cro's comment below. That is one ranch of how many across the US? Do they all get such good treatment?

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  2. I forgot (as usual) till after the race was run.
    I enjoy looking at some of the outfits people put together, but do worry that it is (as so often is true) a very mixed pleasure.
    Some benefit (people) and others (which includes the horses) decidedly don't. I saw this morning one of the runners fractured a pelvis. I suspect its future (and probably life) is very limited.

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    1. I saw that horse on the news, trailing the field and trying to keep running, I knew something was wrong and later heard about the fractured pelvis.

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    2. EC, I think the cost of veterinary treatment would be huge, as against the horse ever racing again. I think you are correct about its future.

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  3. Good to see the Australian horse win. The horse that has a fractured pelvis that was taken to the vet hopefully makes a full recovery. If it's too badly injured I hope it is humanely euthanized and spared the horrific treatment of those horses shown on Four Corners.

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    1. Cheryl, it was great to see the only Aussie horse in the race win. I hope as you do.

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  4. Oh Andrew I couldn't stop laughing reading that last paragraph. Best laugh I've had in ages.

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    1. Marie, your amusement is at my expense, but that is ok.

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  5. Naturally, Vow and Declare was my pick. After learning a few days ago it had connections to Gympie (my old hometown and Noosa...another of my playgrounds/working and living areas of years gone by), I immediately was a fan. Plus he had such a good run in the Caulfield Cup.

    The current headmaster of Gympie State High School, one of the owners, took a week off so he could attend the Carnival. Gympie State High School was the high school I attended....moons ago, of course!

    It was great to see an Aussie horse win - first to do so in 11 years or thereabouts...and, particularly one with Gympie and Noosa connections.

    Also wonderful jockey Craig Williams finally rode the winner of The Cup. He's been chasing it for many years.

    A good day was had.

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    1. Lee, I can't say I take that much interest, although I heard it came from Horsham in our state, but obviously blood ties back to your old stomping grounds. He will be a very happy headmaster. Williams was so likable and so humble. Jockeys went up in my estimation.

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  6. I remember watching a doc a good few years ago where it showed that by their very natures abattoirs attract animal abusing workers. I have no trouble believing that. It upsets me no end. Dog racing in Ireland was/maybe is huge. And those poor dogs. What an effin life.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, yes, I pondered that. It would take a certain type of person to be able to do that work, unless desperate. Perhaps they would get used to it. Perhaps that is the problem. We've had the same issues with dog racing here. Fortunately as a sport it is disappearing.

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  7. My father has been gone since 1924 and he predicted then what would happen if big betting business took over the market and he was right. Not just horses but every kind of sport is plugged on tv every night and with big money comes greed. The old man was a bookie's clerk for years and he enjoyed betting on the races but he would not have approved how it's being run now. He thought the greatest thing in the world was having a TAB phone account.

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    1. Jah Teh, yes, it is big business now, and commercial media is completely beholden to it. I forget what a bookie's clerk actually did. Kept records?

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  8. 1994, idiot. I'm not that old but seems I've caught your disease.

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  9. It breaks my heart the way some horses are treated and it doesn't have to be that way. It's just wrong. I'd have no objections to horse racing if the animals were as well cared for as race cars.

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    1. Sandra, yes about race cars. What other sport allows a competitor to be beaten with a whip? Perhaps cars should drive behind athletes and give them a bit of a flick of a whip at times.

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  10. I almost watched the video and changed my mind when I saw how long it is, I really don't want to see horses (or any other animal) being mistreated. I remember when TABs first opened and sometimes they'd be so packed the men would spill out onto the footpath in a big crowd. then phone betting came along and I remember my MIL on the phone often placing her bets. I haven't bet on the Melbourne Cup since the 80s. Or any other race.

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    1. No River, it is too gruelly and perhaps unnecessarily repetitive but it sure put the cat among the pigeons. It wasn't that long ago that you would see queues outside betting shops on Cup Day.

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  11. Such events in the UK have become no more than a piss-up, and opportunity for a fight. The women mostly look like street-walkers, and the men all seem to lose their jackets and ties after their first few beers. No-one watches the racing.

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    1. Cro, it is a fairly apt description of the Melbourne Cup too. Some do look quite classy, but others as you describe.

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  12. Saw the program on TV and was appalled at the treatment of the horses, we surly wouldn't treat our pets that way, well I hope not. However, so pleased an Australian horse won, bred and owned by Australians and a beautiful looking creating that gelding is.
    Watched the race on TV, didn't bet and never do, won't have a clue what to do!

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    1. Margaret, I wonder if you father had a bet at times, with an illegal SP Bookie, or perhaps he just nabbed them in pubs.

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    2. I reckon my dad had a bet or two in his time as he owned a race horse once for a short time. He would more likely be catching the crooks Andrew :) as that was his job, to catch a thief.

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  13. Can't read your post it affects me too much ! I had read that now there are strict controls about well being of horses, so I prefer to shut my eyes and believe that. The worst is I can't change anything only hope that responsibles move when they see such pictures.

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    1. I understand Gattina, but shutting eyes is ignoring what is happening. Individuals can change things.

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  14. Well, we have three big horse races here. The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. The Triple Crown is won if the same horse wins all three.
    These are the only races I follow.
    That being said I have toured several pure-bred horse farms. The ones I toured were all beautiful and the horses well cared for. This is not to say to say that others are not. We hear of rescue group raiding them and seizing the sickly, beaten horses.
    I am grateful that races involving greyhounds (dogs) have been outlawed here. They truly were being abused in all circles!

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    1. Maribeth, one state here banned greyhounds, only to lift the ban later. Terrible.

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  15. I am a dedicated omnivore. If I want to shock people I talk about the "forbidden foods" I have sampled around the world. I will eat almost anything, but there is no excuse for being cruel to an animal.

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    1. Travel, no excuse at all and we can hardly lecture other countries when we haven't cleaned up our own act.

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  16. I saw that the attendance numbers had gone down a lot Andrew, pleased to see that. I'm not a fan and have often thought I'd like to give the jockeys who use the whip a taste of what it must feel like. To be honest these days there isn't any sport that isn't affected by the influence of money.. it's a sad world we live in today.. but we can't let that get us down right 😉

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    1. Grace, yes, not let it get us down, but don't ignore it either. Maybe the horses would perform better if the jockeys were whipped.

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  17. Circuses here in the US have come under fire because of cruelty to animals, but so far race tracks have not come under fire. But I imagine they someday will after reading this post. It seems part of a trend as people become more aware of really goes in any type of amusement involving an animal.

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    1. Kirk, I don't think we have much in the way of animal circuses now, and that's a good thing.

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  18. I think its disgusting, horse racing, greyhound racing, all of those. Yuk! I'm with the wild mustangs of Oregon's high desert regions.

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    1. Strayer, if like here, feral horses are big ecological problem in our sensitive high country.

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