Derby Day

Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. Here’s some background to the drama: Behind a Derby favorite, tragedy and redemption – USATODAY.com.

Horse racing is a sport that I know little about and so have never gotten into, though I’ve seen a few races and enjoyed them. I don’t think you HAVE to gamble.

Can any of you speak to this particular sport and sell it to the rest of us? Or is it nothing but gambling?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    Look at the history of horse racing in this country to see if it has developed alongside of gambling, or whether it was completely separated and only recently merged with gambling interests.

  • Carl Vehse

    Look at the history of horse racing in this country to see if it has developed alongside of gambling, or whether it was completely separated and only recently merged with gambling interests.

  • PeteS

    While I think anyone can appreciate the power and beauty of these animals, I do think that real horse-lovers, such as my wife and daughters, have a special appreciation for seeing horses race.

    Speaking particularly to the Kentucky derby, there is a couple who are members at one of the parishes I served that attends the derby every year. I do not know if they gamble. When they speak of how much they enjoy it however, it has more to do with the social aspect as well as the history of the event. From others I’ve spoken with, while there are crowds at the Preakness and Belmont, there’s nothing like the Derby.

    To answer your question, I’m sure for some people it’s nothing but gambling, for some it’s a race to be enjoyed, like an auto race or a track meet, and for others (especially owners, trainers and jockeys) it’s a sport with great competition and a great prize (trophy, money), just like the other major sports in this country.

  • PeteS

    While I think anyone can appreciate the power and beauty of these animals, I do think that real horse-lovers, such as my wife and daughters, have a special appreciation for seeing horses race.

    Speaking particularly to the Kentucky derby, there is a couple who are members at one of the parishes I served that attends the derby every year. I do not know if they gamble. When they speak of how much they enjoy it however, it has more to do with the social aspect as well as the history of the event. From others I’ve spoken with, while there are crowds at the Preakness and Belmont, there’s nothing like the Derby.

    To answer your question, I’m sure for some people it’s nothing but gambling, for some it’s a race to be enjoyed, like an auto race or a track meet, and for others (especially owners, trainers and jockeys) it’s a sport with great competition and a great prize (trophy, money), just like the other major sports in this country.

  • Joe

    I think Pete has hit it on the head. I watch the races on ESPN2 with my kids. They jump from track to track to try to eliminate the down time between races. For us it is all about the beauty and power of the animals as they thunder around the track. I think there are many who view it this way. The history of horse racing also suggests that it has always had a broad appeal to the nation – not just to gamblers.

  • Joe

    I think Pete has hit it on the head. I watch the races on ESPN2 with my kids. They jump from track to track to try to eliminate the down time between races. For us it is all about the beauty and power of the animals as they thunder around the track. I think there are many who view it this way. The history of horse racing also suggests that it has always had a broad appeal to the nation – not just to gamblers.

  • kerner

    I visit friends in Louisville every couple years. I never gamble. I do, however, buy some bourbon…

  • kerner

    I visit friends in Louisville every couple years. I never gamble. I do, however, buy some bourbon…

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Those horses are beautiful, to be sure, but I have trouble with how they’re treated–all kinds of surgeries, drugs, and so on to make sure that the owner gets the very most out of his animals. It more or less suffers from a lot of the same issues that plague all top tier sports.

    And to be sure, they try to prevent the worst abuses, but there’s still a lot of dog food being made from their mistakes, so to speak.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Those horses are beautiful, to be sure, but I have trouble with how they’re treated–all kinds of surgeries, drugs, and so on to make sure that the owner gets the very most out of his animals. It more or less suffers from a lot of the same issues that plague all top tier sports.

    And to be sure, they try to prevent the worst abuses, but there’s still a lot of dog food being made from their mistakes, so to speak.

  • Matthew

    While I understand that concern, Bike, to be honest… The horses live better than I do!

    I grew up around Santa Anita in California and my parents went to the track often. Very few things more amazing than being up front at the stretch and watch them thunder past you. I have never gambled on them that often (though as far as gambling goes, it’s the only kind I enjoy). It also has a strategic element to it that goes beyond the blind luck of most casino style games.

    It’s a fun enterprise, Dr. Veith. I wouldn’t encourage you to take it up necessarily, but watch a few races and you’ll appreciate it.

  • Matthew

    While I understand that concern, Bike, to be honest… The horses live better than I do!

    I grew up around Santa Anita in California and my parents went to the track often. Very few things more amazing than being up front at the stretch and watch them thunder past you. I have never gambled on them that often (though as far as gambling goes, it’s the only kind I enjoy). It also has a strategic element to it that goes beyond the blind luck of most casino style games.

    It’s a fun enterprise, Dr. Veith. I wouldn’t encourage you to take it up necessarily, but watch a few races and you’ll appreciate it.

  • LAJ

    When Seattle Slew won the triple crown, not only the gamblers enjoyed it. When Barbosa broke his leg, the whole country was interested in the outcome. Yes, I think horse racing is far more than gambling. Have you read “Man O’ War? There are many other horses and races which have captured the nation.

  • LAJ

    When Seattle Slew won the triple crown, not only the gamblers enjoyed it. When Barbosa broke his leg, the whole country was interested in the outcome. Yes, I think horse racing is far more than gambling. Have you read “Man O’ War? There are many other horses and races which have captured the nation.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Certainly they’re pampered, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re literally run until bones are breaking during the race. You don’t see that when people are running. Something is awry here.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Certainly they’re pampered, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re literally run until bones are breaking during the race. You don’t see that when people are running. Something is awry here.


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