Fact: Racehorses are in a constant state of flux. As commodities – chattel – they are ever being bought and sold, and with that, shuffled from barn to barn, trainer to trainer. But even when not, they are often on the move – shipped from track to track and across state lines. Because of all this, it is utterly pointless to attempt to draw distinctions among the various tracks and states, to argue that a certain one is “safer.” Case in point, the first kill of the Del Mar season yesterday.
Lovely Lilia “suffered a catastrophic injury after completing a four-furlong workout” and was euthanized, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. While the 3-year-old was being prepped to race at Del Mar, her last race was at Santa Anita less than a month ago. In that race, she finished dead-last – a mere 59+ lengths back. Who’s to say she didn’t incur some sort of injury there that eventually led to her death yesterday? (LL was also raced in Arkansas back in April.) If so, it still goes in the books as a Del Mar fatality. So you see, it’s pure folly to compare; U.S. Horseracing is a single entity – or to borrow their lie of a sports metaphor, one giant league. A kill at one is a kill for all.
(By the way, the Tribune’s writers, John Cherwa and Bill Center, degraded Lovely Lilia’s death by pointing out how “safe” Del Mar has been of late: “Last year, at the summer meeting, [Del Mar] had no racing deaths and four in training. Two of those in training were the result of a freak accident [please] where two horses collided in the morning. In the shorter fall meeting, there were three racing deaths and two in training.” How sick is that? “Safe” for these two apologists is nine dead animals. For gambling.)