The 0-113 Racehorse Who Charmed a Country
May 19, 2016 9:47 AM   Subscribe

In 2003, the small Kochi Racetrack in southern Japan was in trouble. The Lost Decade hit the provincial raceway hard, and the staff was scrambling to find some way to stave off bankruptcy. One day, they found an unlikely savior. This is the story of Haru Urara, the losingest racehorse in Japan, and how she gave hope to millions.
posted by Small Dollar (9 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Lovely story!

If you, like me, are unnerved by the terrible video quality at the ESPN site, here's the same video on YouTube (you can choose up to 720p quality): How an 0-113 racehorse gave hope to Japan
posted by fraula at 10:46 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

That brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!
posted by clawsoon at 10:49 AM on May 19, 2016

This is so wonderful. Thank you!
posted by DarlingBri at 11:22 AM on May 19, 2016

This was great and very heartwarming and uplifting. Thanks for this post.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:26 AM on May 19, 2016

Many years ago, US race officials decided in order to keep racing viable they had to sell the horses, not the betting. Secretariat made all the difference in a dying industry. Horses like Barbaro, Cigar, Curlin, Palace Malice, Zenyatta, Wise Dan, Honor Code were amazing animals which brought racing back into the public eye, if only for a short while. It's the personality of the horse, and the story behind it, that will grab peoples interest and gain racing loyal followers. However, it's hard to promote an horse when they're gone with such limited exposure.

Racehorses are started at two, do most of their racing at three, and are usually gone from the track at four. The main for this is, of course, profit--winning horses are retired for breeding for ungodly amounts of money that makes continuing to enter races a net loss. Purses for 4, 5, and 6+ year olds are a pittance compared to what they can earn in the breeding shed.

There is always the ever-present danger of breaking down. Starting a horse into race training at 14-18 months, when the skeletal system doesn't fully mature till 4-5 years old is a recipe for disaster. Most simply can't go on past 3. Big money winning horses are selected for speed, not durability--the American racehorse is one of the most fragile animals in the world.

Thanks to profit and greed, the racing industry is its own worst enemy. Racing has gone from being the favorite American sport to an also ran.

I'm glad Haru had her loyal followers and that she was able to be retired into a good place.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:47 PM on May 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

Palace Malice
My list of Things Named After Racehorses just got a new entry!
posted by clorox at 3:16 PM on May 19, 2016

Cubs fans ought to be able to relate to this with no problem.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 6:29 PM on May 19, 2016

I loved this story!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:31 PM on May 19, 2016

That was a great post, thanks.
posted by Long Way To Go at 9:40 PM on May 19, 2016

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