Despite 7 Dead, Presque Isle Remains Proud

On Sunday, the Erie Times-News published an article by John Guerriero: “Despite horse injuries, Presque Isle Downs’ safety record remains good.” In it, Guerriero touts Presque Isle’s supposedly lower-than-national-average breakdown rate (despite, that is, seven kills in the current meet, which, Guerriero concedes, represents an “uptick” from last year’s five). I say supposedly because Presque Isle doesn’t identify its dead; it offers but a raw number that cannot be verified.

As for the horses who do die for $2 bets, Guerriero writes: “Martinez [Joe of the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association] said that horse racing is an extreme sport that sometimes leads to injuries, just as some athletes in other sports suffer career-ending or even life-ending injuries.”

Mr. Martinez, do tell which other sports regularly lose their athletes on the field. Major League Baseball? One death (from a beaning) in 140 years. The National Football League? One death (from advanced arteriosclerosis) in 95 years. The National Basketball Association? Zero deaths in 70 years. This year alone, some 2,000 “equine athletes” will perish on American tracks, making your comparison both dishonest and obscene. Oh, and not to mention that troublesome little matter of consent.


Guerriero continues: “Martinez said it’s heartbreaking when a horse goes down. ‘We cry about it at times, and we always feel bad. No one feels worse for the animal than we do,’ he said.” First, I’m quite sure that animal advocates feel worse about dead horses than you do. But beyond that, if you do indeed grieve for the fallen, stop doing what you’re doing – it’s just gambling, after all. As for you, Mr. Guerriero, act like a real journalist and report the truth – about racing, that is. Stop peddling their Big Lie.

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