(Nov. 4, 2014) — After the Melbourne Cup was marred by the deaths of two horses, animal activists protested outside Flemington Race Course, an action deemed “exploitive and ghoulish” by the head of the Australian Racing Board.
Favorite Admire Rakti from Japan, who fell back in the field and finished last, collapsed and died in his stall following the race. Sixth-place finisher Araldo was euthanized after he broke his cannon bone when spooked by a flag-waving fan as the horse returned to the mounting enclosure. It was the third death in two years at the Melbourne Cup — last year, French mare Varema snapped a cannon bone during the event.
“We are distraught to learn of another horse dying at the Melbourne Cup,” said Ward Young, a spokesman for the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, which led the protests outside the racing venue. “These events are more common then we would like to believe.”
Australian Racing Board chief executive Peter McGauran responded: “It is exploitive and ghoulish in the extreme for the animal rights groups to seize on the death of this beloved animal to make a political point. I witnessed the owner of Admire Rakti almost collapse with grief, he was deeply distressed, he loved the animal, it was perfectly fit and healthy before the race.”