In the United States, 1.5 million in the first 14 months of the year. In England, 635,000 horses die annually – 3.3 percent – of the average number of horses in a year.
So where would that leave the horse-racing industry? On paper, the horses’ fate is unclear: It would be hard to keep any of them on track – and the number of breeding stalls would keep falling. The racing industry has long believed it can make money on its horses. That’s partly because the industry is in an economic slump.
The United States hasn’t been hit as hard – for horse-racing’s bottom line, anyway. That’s not the case in England and Germany, where people flock to watch racing, often through the television.
The American industry may be at a similar point of strength, but it’s not in the same financial position. The American economy grew in the first five months of 2013, but much of this is from a recovery in the economy and housing market in the United States, which is still a much different economy. There’s been little of the kind of robust expansion seen in the early years of the last century.
When all is said and done, horses might go the way of the dodo bird. In Britain, where the race industry has long been strong, the birds remain. Horses are not the only animals that can be hunted for sport in Britain, but they are the best: They can be bought for a lot less than $75 for a racehorse.
In other words, while their numbers are dwindling – a new study by three researchers in California found that in recent decades the cost of racing in the United States has fallen by half – there is still a way for those that desire to experience those pleasures to do it.
Racers are often so wealthy that they’ll do anything for a good horse, and that is especially true on horse tracks. At tracks where winning can be a real money factor, the odds of winning in a sprint are often 50 or 100 times higher than in the other races.
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