Want to know how the racing industry massages its numbers to make things appear less bad than they actually are? Here’s one trick: Rock N Warrior sustained a fracture while training at Belmont November 1. She was then, the Gaming Commission says, “sent to Ruffian for repair; however, poor prognosis caused euthanasia.” This was today, almost two months after the initial break. Leaving aside for the moment that her suffering was extended almost two full months, her death, according to the official record (Commission), has been classified “other” – meaning not track-related, meaning it will not be reflected in the New York Racing Association’s “catastrophic breakdown rate.” In other words, they’re cheating. (Not that matters, for all deaths – whether on track or in stall – are industry deaths; there’s no distinction to be made.)
Not to be lost, too, is that the 2-year-old Rock N becomes the 53rd kill at Belmont Park this year. 53rd. Please, please disregard the “Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.” Reform is a ruse; safety is a lie. In truth, horseracing kills horses, inherently. From breeding for speed (big torsos, spindly legs); to working pubescent bodies (the typical horse doesn’t fully mature until six; the typical racehorse begins training at 18 months); to the incessant grinding of those bodies (if they’re not racing, they’re not earning); to forcing them to “race” at an unnatural rate (breakneck), in an unnatural way (always counter-clockwise), through unnatural means (perched, whip-wielding humans); to the commodification (the average racehorse is bought and sold several times over the course of his “career,” making his long-term well-being of no concern to his current people) – horseracing guarantees a certain level of killing. Guarantees.