Horse Racing Injuries and Fatalities

MKernMKern Member
There were two disturbing articles that were published yesterday and today about horse racing injuries and death. I love this sport because of the beauty, talent and power of human and equine athletes. But the danger and tragedy of this sport is heart breaking.

From New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/us/death-and-disarray-at-americas-racetracks.html?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto

Greed is destroying this sport. Horses should not be allowed to race with any drugs in their veins. This industry must wake up to the fact that it needs national regulations. It requires strict rules and harsh punishment to violators.

From Los Angeles Times:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-horse-deaths-20120324,0,3962011.story

This is bad news for Santa Anita Park where the 2012 Breeder's Cup will be held. They were also having problems when it was a synthetic track. I don’t think the root cause was ever solved.
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Comments

  • KetaKeta Member
    Ray Paulick just tweeted:
    Atty Karen Murphy said all who signed #StarPlus petition helped case. "Today was a home run for Star Plus. He's going to come home."
  • KetaKeta Member
    The Wall Street Journal March 23, 2012, 11:30 a.m. ET.
    NY probe launched into 20 horse deaths at Aqueduct Associated Press
    ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Racing and Wagering Board says four industry experts will review the deaths of 20 horses at Aqueduct's thoroughbred race track over the past four months.
    They will examine the condition of Aqueduct's inner track and polices on necropsies, pre-race horse examination, veterinary procedures, drug use, public disclosures and claiming procedures.
    Board Chairman John Sabini says the task force will "shine a light on the causes behind these tragic breakdowns" and improve the safety of race horses.
    They are retired jockey Jerry Bailey, Thoroughbred Horsemen's Associations Chairman Alan Foreman and equine veterinarians Scott Palmer and Mary Scollay.
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo called last week for the New York Racing Association, which has the state franchise for thoroughbred racing, to name investigators subject to board approval.

  • KetaKeta Member
    Teresa Genaro aka Brooklyn Backstretch tweeted
    In case you missed it last week, writing about the @jockeyclub Equine Injury Database for
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/teresagenaro/2012/03/15/why-do-horses-break-down-the-jockey-club-tries-to-find-out/
    Teresa is one of the best-articles appear in Forbes & others.
  • KetaKeta Member
    On Wed. March 21st, David Grening of Daily Racing Form tweeted
    18 of the 74 horses (24%) carded for Wednesday at Aqueduct have been scratched.
    AQU main track fast. Sun trying to burst through clouds, mid 60s. As mentioned ,18 scratches incl 7 that were 4-1 or less on morning line
  • what seems to be the problem with Aqueduct?
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    18-20 breakdowns in about four months
  • KetaKeta Member
    The primary problem at Aqueduct was what they call the "inner track"
    It was here that most of the breakdowns happened.
    For the rest of the meet, they will not be racing on that track.
    And, I read that Aqueduct is building a turf course.
  • KetaKeta Member
    Sorry, this story is the same as the one from WSJ posted earlier.
    Have not found the Cancel button.

    From NJ Star-Ledger
    New York commission reviewing deaths of horses at Aqueduct
    Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012, 3:15 PM
    By The Associated Press

    ALBANY, N.Y. --The New York State Racing and Wagering Board says four industry experts will review the deaths of 20 horses at Aqueduct's thoroughbred race track over the past four months.
    They will examine the condition of Aqueduct's inner track and polices on necropsies, pre-race horse examination, veterinary procedures, drug use, public disclosures and claiming procedures.
    Board Chairman John Sabini says the task force will "shine a light on the causes behind these tragic breakdowns" and improve the safety of race horses.
    They are retired jockey Jerry Bailey, Thoroughbred Horsemen's Associations Chairman Alan Foreman and equine veterinarians Scott Palmer and Mary Scollay.
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo called last week for the New York Racing Association, which has the state franchise for thoroughbred racing, to name investigators subject to board approval.
  • Ray Paulick just tweeted:
    Atty Karen Murphy said all who signed #StarPlus petition helped case. "Today was a home run for Star Plus. He's going to come home."
    Dear Keta:

    Thank God Star Plus is coming home. So many TB's do not come home. They end up sold to Kill Buyers and sent to slaughter. This is a part of of the industry that breaks my heart. Not all owners and breeders are responsible for their horses like Mr. Mack is. So glad Ray Paulick brings these awful situations to the forefront with his wonderful Paulick Report. Wish more would be done to stop these unscrupulous people from treating these beautiful, innocent creatures so horribly. Hugs, JB
  • Hi Keta,
    Thanks so much for posting this story. It's wonderful that Star Plus will finally be OK.
  • KetaKeta Member
    Mike Smith posted this on FB on Sat. 3/24
    The article is long, but an excellent read!
    Fear factor: How jockeys cope with injuries
    By Bill Christine
    Mike Smith, the 46-year-old Hall of Fame jockey who is close to his 5,000th career win, says that with each new serious hurt, a rider develops fears.

    “We’re born with fear,” he said. “There’s no getting away from it. If a rider is not nervous before a big race, then he’s not ready.”

    Smith is well equipped to speak to big races, having won 15 Breeders’ Cup races and three Triple Crown races. As for nerves, can you have the yips without having fear? Do five cases of nerves add up to one helping of fear? No matter how it’s sliced, no matter the length of the leap from one to the other, Smith says, “I use what I call nervousness in a positive way. It slows down any rush I might have and helps get me focused on the task at hand.”
    A series of interviews, with jockeys both active and retired, with jockey agents and psychologists, indicates that fear on the racetrack depends on whom and when. The common thread, however, is that jockeys know injuries are part and parcel with the game. The threat of a spill is tied to their fears, albeit in varying degrees. Laffit Pincay Jr., once the winningest jockey ever, said he was afraid for only two weeks, as a teenager during his salad days in his native Panama. Like a light switch, the sinking feeling disappeared and never visited him again. Patti Barton, the first female rider to win 1,000 races, said she could tell when another jockey was riding scared. She rode against several who were and had to make adjustments should those fears translate into tentative riding. Angel Cordero Jr., a Hall of Famer and the Grand Intimidator for three decades, once left the country because of a bad dream about a spill. Those who rode against him would never have believed it.
    http://www.drf.com/news/fear-factor-how-jockeys-cope-injuries
  • KetaKeta Member
    Santa Anita leads California tracks in horse racing deaths

    The toll rose significantly after the Arcadia facility abandoned a costly and troublesome experiment with a synthetic surface and returned to dirt, statistics show

    By Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times
    March 24, 2012, 4:00 p.m.

    Horses died while racing at Santa Anita Park at more than double the rate of horses at the state's other three major thoroughbred tracks over the last fiscal year, according to state statistics.

    The fatality rate at Santa Anita, in Arcadia, rose significantly after a return to a dirt running surface in 2010 after three years of using a synthetic track, the data show.

    Track surfaces are one of several factors that experts say play a role in horses' deaths — a longtime bane of the racing industry. A consensus is emerging among researchers that synthetic surfaces are safer than dirt for racing, though it is unclear whether the same is true for training. Training regimens, racing schedules, breeding practices and the use of medications are also thought to be important variables.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-horse-deaths-20120324,0,3962011.story
  • The New York Times article is very disturbing. The photo alone will turn off anyone thinking of following the sport. If I didn't love racing so much and know that the vast majority of horsemen are good and honest people I'd leave myself. Actually I did infact for awhile after Eight Belles. Sometimes the sport is devastating. And what about these owners who send their horses to such lowlife trainers as those mentioned in the article? I don't know what to think about the racing surfaces other than I hope their investigations yield something that can solve the problem of so many breakdowns. The story about Jacky Martin is so sad.
  • The Memorial Wall mentioned in the LA Times article was very touching. But it was also sad to read what caused the horses to be euthanized. Sometimes this sport breaks your heart.
  • The race at charlestown on feb 29 that the new york times article talked about i saw it live. the horse in the lead broke down (fatally) the other horses behind that one tripped over him/her which caused the chain reaction. it was a very sloppy track that night. the jockeys refused to race because of the track condition, not due to the accident. No other horses were injured even tho it looked horrible. they got back up and ran on.
  • They should get fines for just dumping a horse like that. thats aweful :(
  • MKern - As problematic as Santa Anita's synthetic track was, it was safe. I'd take a track that is problematic for the facilities crew but safe for the horses and rider over their current dirt surface. Last year, I think there was a serious injury or fatality every day I was there. During the prior 3 years on synthetic I think I saw one fatality, and that was a heart attack on the turf course.
  • Yes I read this article yesterday and was very upset. It is a very dangerous sport and many don't realize just what the Jocks put on the line. Living in Southern Cali all my life it was disturbing to see our tracks have the most fatalities out of any other state. Unfortunately there are trainers and owners out there that are the opposite of the Moss's and the Shirreff's of the world. The horse is just a means to make money and as we read they are just dumped in a landfill like a piece of trash when it's all over. The main problem as the article stated is the use of drugs. Masking injuries so they pass the prerace exam. At the state level regulations and fines are just not in place and what the tracks promised to do they are not doing so this sport needs NATIONAL regulations with very steep fines for noncompliance. Sometimes the truth really hurts. I will still enjoy the heck out of this sport and continue to go to the track as always. I will just sit at my table and say alittle longer prayer for the horses and the Jocks before each race.
  • It's a good thing for people to talk and discuss the issues plaguing the sport we love. Just raising awareness is a good thing. Oftentimes change takes place so slowly, but the fact that there seems to be more serious discussion about ridding the sport of the raceday as well as the illegal drugs, and, more and more people are becoming aware of the corner the industry has bred itself in to. Change is never pretty while it's going on...but, I'm heartened by the fact that several key organizations have come out in support of a "phasing-out" of drugs: The Jockey Club, the RCI (Racing Commissioners International), the Breeders Cup, and the Graded Stakes Committee, although the latter organization recently got into very hot water back pedaling a little bit about how they were going to go about implementing it in the Graded Stakes group. That's a good thing, as well, though, because when there was an uproar, they started looking at alternative ways and listening to suggestions from other quarters as to how that plan could be implemented (Fred Pope came out with several good suggestions, which others have signed on to). It will take some time, and a lot of patience, but, eventually I think the U.S. will catch up with the rest of the world that don't allow raceday meds.
  • it also brings up how many owners are more into money instead, the horse and jockey are tools to making money and fame wellbeing comes next, with some owners
  • Yeah, like I said I go too Emerald Downs during the summer to watch the races. I think the horses there are SO beautiful but I know some of them lead very BRUTAL lives.
  • agreed
  • I'am aware that many of these animals are indeed exploited and it is criminal. The Sport of Kings is just that, it should not come down to the levels it has today. All of the owners & trainers should maintain the high level of standards which made Horse Racing the Sport of Kings.
  • The UK has 50% less breakdowns than we do ...you may ask why ? The reason is they ban the use of many drugs that we still seem that it's ok to use. NO DRUGS LESS BREAKDOWN simple as that. Granted some injuries are so small they go undetected but a sore horse can easily be masked with alittle Bute and prerace exams pass. :( I just want the safety of these magnificant animals placed above the almighty dollar. I know I hear people saying Leslie get your head out of the clouds. I can dream.........hugs Leslie
  • I think one thing that also needs to look at is the breeding taking place. I have read several articles over the years that have analyzed the breeding practices in the US Thoroughbred Industry. There is a lot in crossbreeding. It seems like the more that the crossing takes place in the quality of the breed deteroriates. I understand the importance of certain lines being prominent. I have also read that since the 70's the stock just hasn't been a good. We don't see the same kind of American thoroughbred we had in the past. Then adding drugs into the mix - it is a cocktail of continued disaster.
    Zenyatta is an exception because of the intense care taken for her. I remember some asking HER John why they didn't race her as a 3 years old for Triple Crown contention. He said "She wasn't ready." That showed me that they cared for HER. It was about the horse, not the money. The Jacksons are the same way. I can only imagine the vet bill during the care for Barbaro. To me it seems like an old way of thinking. You race a horse for its talent, not the money. We need more of that.
    There is a bigger picture to look at. It will take so much hard work on the parts of breeders, trainers, tracks, and racing associations. But, it could salvage this sport.
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