Monday, September 06, 2010


Yesterday was our annual “Father’s Day at the Track,” albeit a couple months late. As usual, I rode my bike down to Emerald Downs and the family came in the car a bit later, providing me with a ride back, thereby saving me from the inevitable headwinds along Airport Way coming northward.

It turned out to be a reasonably successful day from a wagering standpoint; I picked a couple of winners and even made out okay on an exacta. Truth be told: I didn’t come home ahead, but the amount behind I ended up was more than worth it from an entertainment standpoint.

I experienced my typical self-delusion around pari-mutual thoroughbred racing: after hitting the exacta in the second race, I convinced myself I was a handicapping expert and began fantasizing how I would embark on my new career as a fulltime railbird; fortunately, my complete lack of success in race number three reminded me that the only way I’ll ever end up with a million dollars as a horse-player is to start with two million, budabump-crash!

As someone concerned with the welfare of non-human animals, I realize I should probably not support the horseracing industry; no doubt thoroughbreds have a less-than-fully equine sort of life: they’re hopped up with all sorts drugs and blood-thinners and I have no real idea how they’re disposed of once their “useful” lives are over. By patronizing the track, I’m no doubt supporting an industry that uses and abuses animals for human beings’ pleasure; since avoiding such cruelty is one of the reasons I don’t eat meat, if I’m going to be morally consistent, I should probably, therefore, eschew the track.

But maybe I can appeal to Utilitarian considerations: even considering the horses’ pains and pleasures as morally equivalent to humans, one might be able to sum things up and come to the conclusion that Utility is maximized by allowing the sport to exist.

At least when I hit the exacta.


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