In this unprecedented era of scrutiny on horseracing kills (something we proudly have much to do with), the industry suits have had their work cut out for them. What we have gotten (and really all they have to offer) is a seemingly endless barrage of “safety” statements, like these from the New York Racing Association, operator of Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga: “our goal is to reduce…deaths and injuries to zero”; “demonstrably safer”; “new safety initiatives”; “an industry leader in safety.” And yet.
In 2018 (the year of the first link above), 60 horses lost their lives at the three NYRA tracks. In 2019, 65. This year – which, I remind, has seen curtailed racing because of the virus – 45. Oh, wait, it’s now 46, as Saratoga claims its third victim in three days and ninth on the summer. In the 5th today, Perfection “suffered a catastrophic injury…in the shadow of the finish line” and is dead. She was two; this was her very first race.
To recap, 171 horses have perished at NYRA tracks in just the past 2+ years. 171. Is this what is to pass for “safe” in the “Sport of Kings”? America, you’ve been, are being, had.