Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc.




Social media is abuzz with the abhorrent reaction to the Jim Gaffigan piece on Sunday Morning Show (CBS) last weekend. As many have observed, it appears CBS lacks a filter when it comes to these pieces. Not only was Mr. Gaffigan uninformed, he was detrimental to a sport that offers so many jobs, is responsible for open space farms and celebrates one of the most majestic creatures God ever made –the Thoroughbred racehorse. The 25 million racin g fans in the country (NTRA Study). (In case you didn’t see the piece, click on the link below).

Don’t you wonder what part of Gaffigan’s history has so anti-gambling? Of the hundred of thousand fans who attend the Triple Crown race few are there just to gamble. Handicapping a race is a cerebral exercise that takes time, commitment and analytical abilities. His reference to a well-dressed woman as someone who is living in her sister’s garage because she lost he life-savings because she is an addicted gambler is pejorative, if not misogynistic. Today’s sport of Thoroughbred racing is more about entertainment than gambling, especially in light of the competition for gaming dollars all around us---legal and illegal. I am reminded of the following story:

 “ A man goes golfing with his buddies. Another goes to the race track with his buddies. Both take $200 to cover daily expenses. When they get home, reduced of their bankroll, the gofer is asked, ‘did he have a good time’. The racetracker is asked, ‘did he win’. Why do we see the two sports differently? The racetracker placed a few wagers and purchased some beverages. The golfer had “skin in the game” and did well on the 19th hole.”

 It is clear from Gaffigan’s piece that he knows very few racehorse owners. Maybe he should broaden his cultural experiences and meet a few. He will find out that they are knowledgeable about racing and care of their horse. Many are responsible and invest thousands of dollars caring for their horse when his racing career is over. Today horse owner partnerships are prolific. Fans of all means can know own a piece of a race horse. Look at the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes Justify; he has multiple owning interests. A visit to the backside of a racetrack will find these owners gather to watch their horse(s) workout. How can Gaffigan assume they are detached owners? He is the one who is detached. 

Mr. Gaffigan’s critical insight into jockey strategy is funny, and not in the way he meant it to be. If sitting atop and whipping was the only skill, Jim Gaffigan might have a back-up to his comedy career. When a 110-pound person can perch on his toes aboard a 1200-pound animal traveling at 40 mph and not fall off his athletic acumen must be praised. Add to that navigating a racetrack amongst 19 other horses to win a race should be applauded. To see a jockey as fit at 52 as Mike Smith is noteworthy as compared to a 51-year-old comedian who moonlights on Sunday Morning TV. I am just saying. Finally, to suggest that a Thoroughbred racehorse is disconnected from the race is unbelievable. These are well cared-for and trained athletes worth millions of dollars (the breeding rights for Justify were just sold for $60 million) go out to pay attention to their jockey and do their job ---sometimes winning and sometimes not. They are cared for daily by their own personal groom. Their health and diet are monitored to maximize performance, not unlike an Olympic athlete. They are exercised daily, unlike some comedians. A keen eye will notice the product when they parade on to the track for their job –a race. To assume they are oblivious to winning a race and only perform well when whipped is beyond comprehension.

Mr. Gaffigan's so-called humor is offensive to the 25 million racing fans in the country. CBS should have known that before letting Mr. Gaffigan insult them.

Enjoy the Belmont Stakes.