It is our unequivocal position that no horse wants to race. Simply put, the horserace is effected though force, coercion, compulsion: From nose chains to tongue ties to blinkers, bridles, bits, and reins. And whips. From the trainers to barn staff, the starters to the whip-wielders themselves, the jockeys, every movement of the racehorse is controlled by humans. At least that’s the goal. Sometimes, though, the horse fights back. Witness this from Presque Isle Monday:
“ELFY UNSEATED THE RIDER WHEN SHE FLIPPED ON HER BACK IN THE POST PARADE AND WAS AGAIN FRACTIOUS BEHIND THE STARTING GATE. THE STEWARDS THEN SCRATCHED [HER]” (Equibase).
Immediately prior to this, Elfy was entered on June 21: “ELFY became fractious in the post parade unseating the rider and falling, was quickly apprehended…hesitated at the start…off behind the field.” On this occasion, she finished, albeit in last place.
So, two races in a row this two-year-old horse – a virtual equine babe – has been “fractious,” both times falling (“flipped on her back”). “Fractious,” for those who may be unfamiliar with the word, means “inclined to make trouble, unruly, cranky, peevish.” In other words, Elfy is communicating her displeasure (at what humans are doing to her) the only way she knows how. And yet, this little exercise will continue – continue, that is, until she is either broken down (or “breaks down”) or is simply deemed unfit and jettisoned north to the abattoirs. It is at once inspirational and so profoundly sad.