For many within U.S. Racing the problem is U.S. Racing. Drugs, mostly – Lasix, a lack of uniformity, etc. – but also dirt surfaces, claiming races, and the like. The clear suggestion being that if only we could emulate clean, well-run jurisdictions like Hong Kong, France, or England, all would be right with the world. Because you know, horses don’t die over there, at least not like they die here in the States.
I recently received the following video of a horse – Voyage King – breaking down in a race at Happy Valley in Hong Kong November 20. The Hong Kong Jockey Club subsequently confirmed that Voyage King’s fracture was “irreparable” and he was “humanely euthanised.” But there’s more: According to the JC itself, just this past May the 4-year-old VK was diagnosed “lame left front leg [yes, same one that broke] on the day after racing, [with] osteoarthritis in both front fetlocks.” Then in September, “substantial blood in trachea after racing.” How’s that for “doing things the right way”?
The reader and person who took the video, Oliver Kemsley, was attending his first horserace. Fair warning: it is difficult to watch.