You can run, but you can’t hide. That is the first thought that came to mind when I learned that the New York Times have formed an investigative team to probe horse racing fatalities. Perhaps the tragic deaths of the racehorses used in the filming of the HBO series “Luck” and the 20 who died at Aqueduct since last November will not be in vain, as sad as that is. But they are joined by the 700 or 800 (depending on whose report you believe) who die as racetracks across the US every year, many whose names we shall never know, and just as relevant and just as tragic.
The Paulick Report states:
This coming week, perhaps as early as Sunday according to sources, the New York Times will begin a multi-part series on equine fatalities in Thoroughbred racing throughout the United States over a three-year period. Led by three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Bogdanich, with reporting by veteran racing journalist and two-time Eclipse Award winner Joe Drape, the series will rely on statistics compiled by an investigative team using Freedom of Information Act requests and official racing charts from Equibase.
Until the New York Times investigative report on horse racing fatalities is published, we will not know whether or not the number will include those who breakdown and die during training. These are often omitted or under reported deaths.
We are very pleased to see that the following has been looked into, probably because of the involvement of Joe Drape, who has been beating this drum for many years.
The investigative team has also examined every rules violation related to medication, from overages of therapeutic substances to findings of banned performance enhancing drugs.
Of great interest to us is this:
However, other major tracks, including Aqueduct and Santa Anita Park (where a synthetic surface was replaced by conventional dirt after complaints from some horsemen and many gamblers) will reflect higher than average rates of catastrophic or fatal injuries, the Paulick Report has been told by a source familiar with the series.
Read full report at the Paulick Report >>
The Int’l Fund for Horses protested the return of the Breeders’ Cup to Santa Anita because of the high number of fatalities there. Not surprisingly, we were ignored or charged with either “being a joke”, “animal rights nuts who hate racing”, or having no idea what we are talking about. Not guilty as charged.
It is our opinion that no reputable or caring horseman would risk their precious charges on that track no matter what the prize or payout. No doubt not a single horse will be withdrawn from the Breeders’ Cup because of these concerns. Not at the moment anyway. Let’s wait and see what impact the New York Times investigation makes. Or will Santa Anita (where incidentally “Luck” was filmed) say they have fixed the problem and everyone will simply move on until the next disaster strikes.
In the meantime, Aqueduct have formed their investigative team as directed by New York Governor Cuomo. Read more at the Paulick Report >>