Horse Racing In Italy Running in the Red

Published Monday, January 09, 2012 -

Horse racing is suffering from a lack of funds in many parts of the world and the situation for the sport of kings is becoming critical. The race tracks are aging and the cost of maintaining the current status quo for owners and breeders is under stress. The crisis in horse racing is coming down to the wire in Italy where protests are scheduled in Rome to make the government aware of the importance of the sport to many Italian citizens.

The demonstrators are scheduled to form a line near the Italian prime minister’s office where jockeys, trainers, racing officials and breeders will show their support for funding to ensure that Italy keeps horse racing in its budget. Huge cuts to the funding of tracks and prize money have resulted in every sector of the sport objecting and refusing to work until something to rectify the situation is done.

In a recent report by the Guardian Italian journalist and former consultant to the European Pari-Mutuel Association, Dr Carlo Zuccoli, said, “over-spending” and a “lack of financial control” was the reasoning behind the cuts.
The Italian counterpart to the British Horse Racing Authority, Unire, has had some deficit years. Zuccoli explained, “The betting model, through which money comes back to racing, is broken, and it is effectively bankrupt. As it stands, every race that is run is being run at a loss.”

The new agriculture minister who is responsible for horse racing funding Mario Catania, has already stated there will be “nothing more for the sport.” Proponents of renewed funding say that cuts will cause hardship to those 50,000 families that earn a living from horseracing in Italy.
Zuccoli said, “The only way forward is to admit that we need a new structure for funding racing and to start again with a clean slate. If we try to carry on as things are, racecourses will close and racing will not survive in Italy,”




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