How many horses have to die before the racing industry changes?

“How many horses have to die before the racing industry changes?”

That question is the title of an Op-Ed written by Leah Smith, a senior at the Park School of Baltimore.

In her closing paragraph she states:

I don’t have a moral objection to horse racing, or to using animals to make money. But most in attendance at Preakness were casual fans who know little about the sport’s dark underbelly. Until American horse racing is properly regulated, until inbreeding is controlled and medication is limited, I don’t want my money lining the pockets of trainers, breeders and an industry that willingly lets its athletes die.

We feel differently of course on the use of animals but we think it is important to take all types of thought into consideration.

Why are they important?

In this case they are of particular interest because (1) Miss Smith’s feelings probably represent most people’s thoughts on the subject, (2) yet at the same time strongly objects to the litany of cruel practices that result in the routine suffering and death of racehorses.

And you know what they say about people like us — we are against everything. Well, you don’t have to be professional against-ers like us to appreciate many of the points made in Smith’s editorial.

My favorite quote on horse racing at the moment comes from Patrick Battuello of which pretty much says it all no matter where you are on this issue.

You can love horses. You can love racing. But you can’t love both.

Sorry. You simply can’t have it both ways.


Please read the article and leave a respectful comment. Help horses by supporting editorials like these.



Maryland-bred Homeboykris, a 9-year-old gelding who ran in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, collapsed after winning the first race on a dreary day and having his picture taken in the winner’s circle.

Homeboykris had gone “probably 100 yards” before his legs started to wobble and the horse fell, trainer Francis Campitelli said.

Track officials said they believe he suffered cardiovascular collapse. His carcass was sent to New Bolton Center Hospital in Pennsylvania for a necropsy.

In the fourth race, Pramedya, a 4-year-old filly, collapsed on the turf during the final turn with a fracture in the left front leg. She was euthanized on the track.

Pramedya’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, also owned the Kentucky Derby-winning horse Barbaro who shattered bones in his leg at the start of the Preakness in 2006. Barbaro developed laminitis and was euthanized in 2007.

“We haven’t fully digested the whole thing,” Roy Jackson said shortly after Pramedya’s death. “But life goes on.”

Um, well life goes on for you Mr. Jackson. —Ed.

Source: Deaths of two horses cast a pall over Pimlico; Baltimore Sun; by Jonas Shaffer; May 21, 2016.

Why is it that headlines like these sound like the horses set out to ruin everyone’s day by dying? —Ed.


Racehorse muddied up on Preakness Day 2016, Pimlico Racecourse. Photo Credit: Rob Carr / Getty Images.
Racehorse muddied up on Preakness Day 2016, Pimlico Racecourse. Photo Credit: Rob Carr / Getty Images.

Two Racehorse Deaths At Preakness Could Reignite The Debate About Horse Retirement Age; Bustle News; by Morgan Brinley; May 21, 2016.


Saving Baby — How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption
by Jo Anne Normile and Lawrence Linder
• Buy it now »


See Mr. Battuello’s post, “Four Confirmed Kills on Preakness Day” »


A hot walker moves down a muddy track with Homeboykris on Preakness Day 2016, on what turned out to be the last day of his life.

5 thoughts on “How many horses have to die before the racing industry changes?”

  1. I do what you say is impossible. I support horse racing, but abhor the abuses. I speak out for the reforms that I think need to be made to prevent or at least limit the breakdowns. But I want to respond to your question about how many horses, with the question that the USA if facing: How Many Senseless Deaths, BEFORE the gun industry changes? BEFORE there are sensible gun control measures in place? If our country doesn’t care enough to stop the senseless killings of humans, I doubt that it will care enough to do anything to make racing safer. If not, I may have to drop US racing in favor of European, in which much less abuse occurs.


  2. Amen. How ridiculous is it that they are allowed to overbreed without giving back. How ridiculous is it to have all the rules without any enforcement to back them up… Time for a change!!!


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