Stay Thirsty / Travers Stakes Winner 2011. Photo: Hans Pennink/AP.

Horses entered for the Travers Stakes face heightened scrutiny

Joe Drape writing for the New York Times reports:

Stay Thirsty / Travers Stakes Winner 2011.  Photo: Hans Pennink/AP.
Stay Thirsty, winner of the 2011 Travers Stakes, heads toward the first turn at Saratoga racecourse in New York. 2012 entrants face heightened scrutiny because of increasing public awareness concerning the drugging and treatment of racehorses thanks to articles by Joe Drape and the New York Times. Photo credit: Hans Pennink/AP.
    “New York authorities have ordered that all horses racing in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 25 be placed under 24-hour surveillance, and their trainers will have to document each medical treatment a horse receives in the 72 hours before the race.”

    and

    “For the Belmont Stakes on June 9, state regulators required every horse to move to the same barn by noon the Wednesday before the race. The decision drew the ire of horsemen, who complained loudly about how the prerace routines of their horses were upset as well as the public perception it created that they were all cheaters.”

The report continues with details concerning the condition and treatment of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another prior to the Belmont Stakes and the horse’s sudden withdrawal the day before the final leg of the Triple Crown due to a “freakish injury involving his left front tendon.”

Also of note in Drape’s report are these damaging statistics compiled by the New York Times:

  • Twenty-four horses a week die at the nation’s racetracks
  • Horses break down or show signs of injury at the rate of 5.1 per 1,000 starts
  • Since a casino opened last fall at Aqueduct, 30 horses have died at that meeting in New York, a 100 percent increase in the fatality rate over the same period the previous year

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