[This is another in a continuing series of posts about issues concerning racing, especially as it was conducted 100 years ago in 1911.]
Although there were some serious issues related to breeding, including an experiment in massive books for stallions, there was no AI in 1911.
Nowadays, artificial insemination is widespread in agriculture, allowing breeds and bloodlines to span the globe or to be sampled and tested in different environments with moderate expense. Overall, AI is simply done, inexpensive, and practical.
It is also illegal for use in Thoroughbreds that would be registered with the Jockey Club (or Clubs) and used for racing.
That may change. In a well-publicized case that has been brewing for two years in Australia and that has been reported on here previously, the wealthy breeder and gambler Bruce McHugh has challenged the Australian Stud Book and its associates for disallowing AI.
The following links give a current summary of the arguments, which began in court on Monday.
Readers will notice inaccuracies in some of the stories. The worst is the claim made by Tony Bannon, representing the Sydney Turf Club, that AI would mean that some stallions never die and that their semen would be stored for use long after their deaths.
Alas, if only that were true.
Unfortunately, stallion semen does not remain viable for a great length of time. Otherwise, Northern Dancer and Bold Ruler and Danzig could still be producing world-class stock and entertaining racing fans worldwide.
Even allowing for hyperbole, straw men (or horses), and the ancillary tricks of the rhetorical trade, the level of discourse at this trial has been disappointing.
Furthermore, the general consensus is that McHugh is likely to prevail in court. If so, what does that mean for Thoroughbred breeding around the world?