Rillito Park is a part-time track in Tucson. Beginning yesterday, it will run Saturdays and Sundays till the first weekend in April, 12 dates in all. Proudly billing itself the “birthplace of modern QuarterHorse racing,” Rillito is, this year, also boasting “highest ever” purses, “new and improved food and beverage service,” and “live entertainment throughout the meet.” Oh, and then there’s this: “23 University of Arizona students [have been] hired to receive hands-on experience, including providing the record of safety with the Equine Wellness Program” – an obscenity unto itself.
So what did those students – along with everyone else there – “experience” on “Opening Day”? Two kills. Yes, two horses were sacrificed, pardon the expression, right out of the gate. While the official chart claims only that Prime Cartel (first race) and Brastika (sixth race) were “vanned off,” they were, I have confirmed, actually euthanized where they lay. Both horses were three years old.