Horse racing doesn’t have issues; it’s a great sport…riiiight.
In a rare show of solidarity jockeys in Pennsylvania are revolting against any horse owned by Michael Gill. Since October 1st, six Gill owned horses have had fatal breakdowns. It’s an unusually high number given the short time period which led to the other jockeys uniting to protect their safety. If an unfit horse has an issue during the race and falls the chain reaction that would ensue would likely harm other horses and jockeys.
In an interview with the New York Times, Gill claimed the racing surface at Penn National was the culprit for the fatal breakdowns. The jockey boycott started January 27th when a Gill owned horse broke down after crossing the finish line and had to be euthanized. Afterward, the Penn National jockeys told management they were boycotting all future races that included a Gill horse.
Whenever a dispute erupts in horse racing, whether it be doping or not caring for the animals, there is always a ready explanation. No one ever says that I was doing whatever it took to win. Instead, it’s the surface. The jockey rode the horse too hard. It’s never the drive of the owner to increase his winnings and stud fees.
Good for the jockeys to take a stand. Unlike the horses they ride, they are the only ones who can.