In a letter to the New York Racing Association, New York governor Andrew Cuomo calls for the organization to hire an independent investigator to look into the deaths of 16 horses [UPDATE: The number has risen to 20] since racing began on the inner-dirt track November 30th of last year. The number includes a horse who was euthanized Wednesday after injuring her right front leg.
JERRY BOSSERT, reporting for the New York Daily News writes:
“The State and NYRA need to develop best in class procedures to insure against needless injuries to horses and to riders,” read a letter Cuomo sent to NYRA President Charles Hayward Wednesday. “By this letter, we are advising NYRA to hire a qualified independent investigator or team of investigators to review the circumstances involving these breakdowns, analyze the causes, and recommend any necessary action to (limit) equine breakdowns at NYRA faciliites.”
The letter advised that NYRA should assume the costs of the investigation.
While NYRA claims the inner-dirt track is safe, they are moving racing to the main track on March 21, two weeks earlier than scheduled, a move that didn’t come in time for Hillsboro Bay, who was taken off the inner-dirt track after Wednesday’s finale in the equine ambulance after injuring her right front leg. She was later euthanized.
“This pattern of equine loss should not be allowed to continue,” Cuomo’s letter said.
Cuomo’s letter acknowledged the inherent risks in racing, but said those risks should not be an “excuse for our inaction.”
NYRA responded to Cuomo’s letter by telling the Daily News that it “will cooperate with the requests made in the letter, and make a recommendation to the Racing and Wagering Board regarding selection of an investigator.” Read more >>
Well done Governor Cuomo, for calling for an outside investigation. That means we have at least some hope that we will not be fobbed off with unintelligible statistics taken from information volunteered for a database that typically comes out of horse racing.
The NYRA have taken admirable actions in the past to protect Thoroughbred racehorses. How disappointed we are that the Governor of the State had to call on the NYRA in this way because of the alarming number of fatalities.