Racing Mule Clones Yes—Racing Thoroughbred Clones No

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Two of the University of Idaho's cloned racing mules, Idaho Gem and Idaho Star will soon be competing in races around the country. Meanwhile the snootier Jockey Club, which regulates Thoroughbred racing, forbids clones to compete. An MSNBC article on the Thoroughbred cloning ban points out that cloning could be used to give geldings like 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide a reproductive future, but apparently that's banned too. The article further notes:

[P]restigious Kentucky breeders say there is no room for cloning—or any other genetic engineering technology—in their business.

"Part of the intrigue, part of what makes horse racing so appealing is the challenge and the art of breeding a better animal," said Dan Rosenberg, president of Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky. , which breeds Smarty Jones and a stable of other blue chip runners.

"It will become less appealing if it comes down to which owners and breeders can hire the best scientists," Rosenberg said. "Do we really want races that pit 10 Secretariats against each other?"

Since the rules of any sport are essentially arbitrary, the private ruling body of any sport can set any arbitrary rule that it wants as far as I'm concerned, but I think a race between 10 Secretariats would be very excting.

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  1. I’d like to see 10 secretaries racing myself, but only if they pre-qualify in a swimsuit event.

  2. Wouldn’t this just be the biological version of stock car racing? Everyone’s got the same vehicle, so it comes down to training and the jockey. I think it could be very interesting.

    (Note: my knowledge of car racing is somewhere between slim and nil, so the stock car racing analogy might not be 100% accurate.)

  3. Cloning isn’t all that’s banned with thoroughbreds. Artificial insemination is also verboten.

  4. We’ll just have to see if Clone Racing becomes more popular than … [whatever naturally-conceived and birthed horses will someday be called] Racing.

  5. Not only that, but it would also increase the lifespan of thoroughbred studs. The act of mating is quite dangerous for older male horses, who are often injured by younger friskier females.

  6. How is breeding anymore “artisitc” than genetic engineering? Isn’t it just six of one half dozen of the other? Breeders just don’t want more competition.

  7. How is breeding anymore “artisitc” than genetic engineering? Isn’t it just six of one half dozen of the other? Breeders just don’t want more competition.

    Maybe they’re all Catholic.

  8. From a betting standpoint 10 Secretariats is less interesting.

  9. “It will become less appealing if it comes down to which owners and breeders can hire the best scientists.”

    Yes. We would hate for horse-racing to lose its blue-collar feel and become and elitist sport for princes, sheiks and billionaires.

  10. “Cloning isn’t all that’s banned with thoroughbreds. Artificial insemination is also verboten.”

    and what would horse racing be without good old fashion horse fucking?

  11. Yes. We would hate for horse-racing to lose its blue-collar feel and become and elitist sport for princes, sheiks and billionaires.

    Yeah. Then they wouldn’t be able to call it “the sport of peasants.”

  12. Yeah. Then they wouldn’t be able to call it “the sport of peasants.”

    I had a friend some years back who was part of England’s landed aristocracy. He told me that he hunted peasants on his family’s land. Later, I realized that he meant pheasants. I wonder if that conversation has contributed to my libertarian leanings? Hmmm.

  13. How is breeding anymore “artisitc” than genetic engineering?

    Gambling is an integral part of horse racing. The breeding is part of the gamble. We want that variability to make the game interesting. Do you want a robot to throw seven everytime at the craps table?

    We would hate for horse-racing to lose its blue-collar feel and become and elitist sport for princes, sheiks and billionaires.

    Go out to a track and try to find a billionaire. Go to an off-track betting parlor and look for a prince. Break open the trust fund and place a two dollar bet on a race. You might be surprised.

  14. Are cyborg horses allowed?

  15. I can’t imagine there are any special interests at stake here, can you? $100,000 for a single shot with a stud, no guarantees and all that.

    Some trainers would become more valuable if everyone had the same animal. Others couldn’t blame the horse.

    Really, aren’t the damn things so inbred as to make cloning rather redundant?

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