The most recent Golden Gate Stewards Minutes report the euthanasia of a horse, Montana Sunset, on March 23 for “Equine Herpes Virus Neurotrophic Strain” – whatever that is. Of course, nothing new about another dead racehorse, but I thought this a good opportunity to (again) point out the deception of the “non-racing” death.
Growing up, I was taught that roughly 620,000 soldiers died during the American Civil War. That’s a fairly well-known number because it has often been said that it matches (or almost matches) the fatality-count from all other U.S. wars combined. But what most don’t realize is that roughly two-thirds of those soldiers died of disease. With that knowledge, when have you ever heard someone try to make the case that those deaths were in any way less significant, or more to the point, could somehow be disassociated from the war itself? Doesn’t happen – nor, obviously, should it.
As the above clearly shows, time, place, circumstances, and context matter. So, too, with the Montana Sunsets of the racing world. In other words, they’re not allowed to absolve themselves here, to write this off as an unfortunate event that could have happened anywhere. Every death in the horseracing industry is by the horseracing industry – every one of them, whether it comes via snapped leg, ruptured ligament, cardiac collapse, pulmonary hemorrhage, or “Equine Herpes Virus.” And that’s that.