Why You Should Care About Horse Racing

Image from Cornell University
What do you think of when you hear the sport of horse racing? Maybe it’s that dingy track frequented by sketchy men wearing tattered and patched suits stuffed with $1 bet receipts and 40-something year old women chainsmoking cigarettes through their missing front teeth that your uncle once dragged you to because there was this horse that was “guaranteed money”–wait, what? Just me? Well that makes my case a little easier.

Horse racing is one of the oldest and most prestigious sports known to man; in ancient Greece and Rome, some of the most famous of people were chariot racers, and in 17th century England it became the “Sport of Kings” due to its royal clientele. Horse racing was quite popular in America in the late 1800’s and through the mid 1900’s, ranking up with boxing and baseball. 

So, what happened? Two things: new sports and new ways to gamble. Obviously, over the past 150 years, new sports have been invented and risen to popularity (yeah, I’m talking about you football and basketball), which has left horse racing in the dust. People wanted to see more constant action and get more bang for their buck and time, something that you might not be able to get with horse racing. The main draw from horse racing is the gambling aspect, a sport where you can make money by doing nothing but guessing; sounds pretty American to me. But, the mean ol’ government decided that people were having too much fun so they restricted the gambling on horse racing. People thought, “Whatever, I guess I’ll blow my cash on dollar scratchies and daily fantasy leagues.” But, guess what? It’s about time we go back to horse racing and celebrate its beauty.

People neglect horse racing because they don’t know much about it and its culture. Well let me tell you, horse racing balls out. Maybe people would care about it if they knew the three pillars of Horse Racing: Money, Clothes, and Alcohol. Read that again if you need to, but that’s what horse racing is all about. For example, the Kentucky Derby is essentially a huge darty (day party). Whether you’re a stable owner dropping a million dollar bet on your Thoroughbred, Wes Welker making it rain after snorting your way through Tony Montana’s personal collection, or just some bum trying to climb the fence into Churchill Downs, you’re going to enjoy yourself. Okay, maybe not that last person, but still. When you go to a horse race you’re wearing all the best clothes you own, you have enough money in your pocket to make a down payment on a three-bedroom, two-bath house in a nice neighborhood, and you prep your liver to consume plenty of fine liquors. Also, where else could you get a $2,000 Mint Julep? Gatsby ain’t got nothing on that. So yeah, being at the race is pretty baller, but how can you enjoy the races at home?

There’s a very simple way to do this; however, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for me to tell you to do these things, so, to enjoy the races definitely don’t get inebriated on bourbon (or whatever your spirit of choice is) with all your friends, and absolutely don’t place a ton of bets on the race. But, if you don’t want to heed this advice, you can expect a great afternoon of excitement.

May 2nd is rapidly approaching, and one may ask, “should I watch the Kentucky Derby?” This should be answered with a resounding “YES, $2,000,000 on Carpe Diem!”

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