As It Prepares to Reopen, Belmont (NYRA) Promises Safety and Happiness – For All But the Horses

Yesterday, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) released a statement regarding a resumption of racing at Belmont Park. Besides the blatant kissing up to an unimpressed Governor Cuomo, the theme was safety:

“NYRA joins the entire racing community in applauding Governor Cuomo’s steady leadership throughout this unprecedented public health crisis. We recognize that decisions about large scale events are rightly left to our elected leaders and public health officials. At the same time, horseracing is in a unique position as a sport that can be safely staged without attendees.

“NYRA held races at Aqueduct Racetrack safely and securely under these conditions through March 15. Our experience during this period of time, as well as our ability to continue the training operation at Belmont Park throughout the pandemic, informs the strict safety protocols that we currently have in place at Belmont Park and would seek to implement at Saratoga Race Course.

“As such, NYRA is seeking to resume live racing at Belmont Park in the absence of fans and we have prepared operating plans that follow the same model for Saratoga. These plans prioritize the health and safety of employees, horsemen and the backstretch community and include a broad array of risk mitigation strategies developed according to the most updated heath guidance.

“By closing to the public, layering additional health and safety protocols to our ongoing practices, and reducing the number of employees on-property, NYRA is in a position to provide a small sense of normalcy for fans across the country who can watch on television and online. … This is a delicate balance, and one that must always prioritize health and safety. [W]e are committed to taking every step possible to keep our communities safe while providing entertainment and contributing to the New York economy as we collectively begin the return to a new normal.”

Conspicuous by its absence, of course, was any mention of the health and safety of their horses. Surprised? Shouldn’t be. Here are the kill totals for the three NYRA tracks – Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga – from 2009-2019:

Aqueduct, 225 dead racehorses
Belmont, 452 dead racehorses
Saratoga, 155 dead racehorses

That’s 832 animals sacrificed for “entertainment” in a little over a decade. Thus far this year (with an obvious asterisk), 14 more horses have perished – 3 at Aqueduct, 11 at Belmont – and Belmont has yet to even run a race.

Horseracing: safe and happy for all but the horses.

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  1. Obviously the horses’ safety is still disregarded, even with race tracks closed, horses are still dying! How can anybody in their right mind be okay for this??

  2. “…horseracing is in a unique position as a sport that can be safely staged without attendees.” Horseracing is the equivalent of horse abuse and killing and yet morally depraved people call it a sport. This alone shows the moral depravity of humans that knowingly and willfully exploit the lives of horses for racing and treat them as expendable. To the NYRA, and all other horseracing organizations, horses are living, breathing animals that are used for financial gain and routinely disposed of; as routinely as they are abused day in and day out.

    “…while providing entertainment and contributing to the New York economy…”
    Horseracing, whipping, shocking, injuring and killing is entertainment to the most vile and the most uninformed, naive, ignorant people. You have to be totally uninformed to think that horseracing is entertainment. If you know horses are horribly abused and injured and killed because of horseracing and still want the abuse and killing to continue unchecked, you are morally depraved. You are not an asset to society.

    I believe that the government subsidies of any state contribute much more money to the economy of the vile activity of horseracing than what horseracing contributes to the economy of any state including the State of New York.

    May the State of New York see fit to stop all government subsidies to horseracing! Amen.

  3. New York Gov. Cuomo should cut off all government money going toward this disgusting industry!

  4. If people were smart, which a lot aren’t…they would realize the WELFARE that goes to racing is plain out wrong.That welfare is going to have to go to families who are sinking and dying now. Wake up people,get informed and educated!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s save horses lives.

    • Right, Bonnie!!! Government subsidies to horse racing is not only corporate welfare but it is also government-subsidized animal abuse!!!! It’s wrong and it’s sickening!!!! If people want to do gambling and call it “gaming” they can bet on something that doesn’t live or breathe and die. Another thing is that the team sports such as basketball and football are suddenly of no significant importance when massive numbers of people are dying either from attacks by human foreign invaders (September 11, 2001) or a virus that is so new that there is no vaccine for it yet. The elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities need better care than they have gotten. That government money could help to protect people from more suffering than they should ever have to suffer. Plus, the horses used and abused for horseracing need some HELP too!!!!!

  5. What’s it going to take for politicians to finally stand up to this vile industry and say NO MORE.
    No more racehorses dying being sent to slaughter and dumped for everybody else to clean up.
    No more money, subsidies, casino profits and taxpayers money – no more.
    No more communities suffering because there will be sufficient money to fix issues once it’s no longer going to this killing show.
    Just one politician who looks towards a brighter future minus horse racing.
    Our communities will do just fine without them and lots of jobs will be created with the money going to communities – how dare you give precious taxpayers money to this corrupt business full of parasites?
    How dare you give them millions in subsidies when we are in the middle of a crisis, when local coffers are dry and necessitate cutting essential services such as ambulance drivers, EMT, nurses etc etc.
    Stop the money, bulldoze the tracks and build communities over them.
    What is it going to take to put an end to this waste – total waste of taxpayers money and racehorses lives?

    Those who stand by and do nothing to end this are THE EPITOME OF EVIL AND BARBARIC!

  7. Running baby horses at break neck speed is a misdemeanor under the NYS Ag. & Mkts Laws. Doping horses with performance enhancing drugs is a felony, yet this industry continues to break these laws and get away with it!

  8. Really is no excuse for this to continue. Killing horses when you are not even open? I honestly have no words for this. Absolutely inexcusable to fund a so called sport with money better spent elsewhere, and just stop breeding these animals. End it. End it all.

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