Videos by OutKick
The Kentucky Derby is set to be run at 6:57pm on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean everyone is a fan of horse racing’s biggest event.
Washington D.C. radio host Danny Rouhier on Friday went off on the derby and horse racing in general.
On the “Grant and Danny” show on 106.7 The Fan, Rouhier explained his thoughts on the event and why he believes people actually care about it.
“Stop doing this. The Kentucky Derby is stupid, horse racing is stupid, stop all of it. That’s my hot take,” Rouhier said.
He continued, “Here’s what happens: we get around this time every year, and you never remember when it is because you don’t care, and you read one article about it. People want to gamble, drink, and wear fancy hats. That’s not a sporting event, that’s just stupid.”
Well, he’s not entirely wrong.
Kentucky Derby More About The Event, Not The Sport
Rouhier is certainly right that the Kentucky Derby has now reached a level of fame where the race is almost ancillary to the surrounding ceremony.
Attendees are generally there for the ceremony, fashion, and prestige of saying they were there.
But that’s not too different from many prominent events these days. And it’s all part of the experience economy.
Many still attend events because of legitimate interest. But others pay for things like concerts, for example, to post about it on social media.
The NFL also exploded in fan interest due in large part to gambling interests. Fantasy football, a form of low-stakes gambling, and actual sports betting have been tremendous contributors to the league’s success.
Meanwhile Major League Baseball has lost fans and viewers in large part because gambling on individual games is too difficult and fantasy baseball is too time consuming.
“Baseball is boring” is often code for “it would take too much time for me to learn how to gamble on it.”
Horse racing is no different, although with it does have the added component of injuries leading to contestants being put down. Something that’s unfortunately happened frequently in the lead up to this year’s derby.
READ: KENTUCKY DERBY FAVORITE SCRATCHED, SIXTH HORSE DIES HOURS BEFORE RACE
Shady Horse Racing Rules
Rouhier brought up the seedy underbelly of horse racing as another reason he doesn’t like the Kentucky Derby.
“If there were no riders on the horses and they just ran like dogs do, that’s more intriguing to me,” he said. “But you have this scummy underworld where trainers are plying these things with drugs and guys are getting suspended and expelled…it’s so dumb. I cannot stand these stupid races. It’s like wine: you think you’re supposed to like it, so you over-talk about it in hopes that nobody follows up and asks you about it. I cannot stand the whole thing. All we’re trying to do is hope one horse does what another one did 50 years ago…and then what? It’s so unbelievably dumb. Get rid of all of it. If I had the power of Thanos, that’s what I’d use the Infinity Gauntlet for: get rid of horse racing.”
To be fair to the derby, that history and tradition is what makes real fans enjoy the event even more.
There’s something to be said for criticizing a sport where humans are one of the least important parts of the results. Especially one that could be seen as existing seemingly solely for gambling purposes.
But for many it’s a fun event full of pomp and pageantry. And what’s wrong with enjoying that, for just one day a year?