Before reading the article:
Did you watch the Kentucky Derby on Saturday? If you did, what is your reaction to what you saw? If you didn’t watch, what have you heard or read about the race’s outcome?
Look at the photo above. Do you think it is unusual to see such a muddy course?
Now, read the article, “Country House Wins Kentucky Derby After Maximum Security Is Disqualified,” and answer the following questions:
1. How does the article explain why it is “little wonder” that the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby ended in “astonishment, controversy and confusion”?
2. Which horse crossed the finish line first? Why was it disqualified?
3. Which horse was then declared the winner? Why is it an “improbable victor”?
4. How did the stewards’ decision to declare a foul in the race make Kentucky Derby history?
5. Who is Flavien Prat? What role did he play in this history-making race?
6. How much money did Country House’s owners receive for the win? If a $2 bet was placed on this horse to win, how much money did the person who placed the bet win?
Finally, tell us more about what you think:
The article also delves into the current state of horse racing in the United States, including the issue of horse deaths at racetracks:
The stakes were already high on Saturday for a declining sport that has quickly become an endangered one. Twenty-three horse deaths over a three-month span at Santa Anita Park in Southern California shut down racing there and produced calls to ban the sport.
Here at Churchill Downs, 43 thoroughbreds were lost to racing injuries since 2016, an average of 2.42 per 1,000 starts, which was 50 percent higher than the national average during the same time.
So it was with racing hearts and fraught nerves that the crowd of 150,729 sent off the field of 19 horses on a rainy day that left the racetrack as sticky as peanut butter and the horses and riders determined to find safe and strategic footing.
Do you think horse racing is ethical? Explain your stance. What, if any, changes do you think need to be made to the sport?
A recent article quotes Walker Hancock, who is the fifth generation of a famous horse racing family whose farm has produced 75 champion horses. He states, “We got to change the public’s perception and clean this thing up if we are going to survive.”
Read the article and identify the reform efforts that are under consideration. Do you think that the American horse racing industry can win back the attention of people who had given up on it or had never liked it in the first place? Why or why not?