Our favorite bartender told my partner and me a story today about some fellow who came into the bar and butt into a conversation some folks were having about Michael Vick and his dog fighting. The man said that horse racing was no better than dog fighting, and he pointed out "that horse that broke down in the Preakness and they had to put him to sleep."
It's probably good that we weren't there to set this man's head on straight. First of all, dog fighting pits two dogs against each other, and the two animals tear each other apart in a teeth baring, biting all-out violent fight. The object of the "game" is for one animal to die, or to be so injured the animal cannot continue.
The object of horse racing is entirely different. Two animals aren't pitted against each other to fight to the death. No, several race horses (usually at least six but normally anywhere between six and fourteen) are lined up together to run. They race, you know, kinda like human beings have races. Additionally, race horses are thoroughbred athletes who are highly trained and very well treated. In fact, the average amount of money an owner of a bottom level, cheap claimer can expect to pay for the horse's keep (stable, feed, groom, stable hands) is $2000 per month. And this is for a horse that isn't Barbaro.
Mr. Opinionated didn't even know Barbaro's name. He's probably never been to a horse race at a real track or taken the time to walk through the stalls with a trainer and see how the horses are treated. Well, I have, and I'm pretty sure it's a lot different from how dogs intended to die in fights are treated.