Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today's Cartoon: Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro Euthanized

The way I see it, the passing of Barbaro the horse mixes all the sadness of a family losing its pet with the sympathy of a yuppie crashing his sports car. One the one side you can't help but feel bad for those who took care of the animal and tried to nurse it back to health; but on the other hand, these where also the same people who literally rode this poor animal into the ground.

As a sport, I've never really understood horse racing. I mean, it's the horses that do all the work and yet I’m pretty sure that in their minds, none of them are actually "competing". Instead it probably appears to them that the quicker they finish a race the sooner that annoying little man with the whip climbs off their back.

Now as far as the gambling is concerned, that seems to be the only thing that legitimizes this spectacle as a "sport". In fact, if it weren't for betting, I'd say that the odds of people watching horse racing wouldn't be very good.

So basically what we have here is a sporting event in which both the "athletes" and the spectators need to be coerced into participating, through the promise of rewards. For people, it's the allure of fast cash at the race track; while for horses, it's the satisfaction of getting the jockey off their back and perhaps the hope that one day they might get to "retire" and be put out to stud... provided that their legs are still strong enough to mount a mare.

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