Excerpts from an op-ed by Rory Goreé, vice chairman of the Arizona Racing Commission, in Wednesday’s Tucson Sentinel:
On Saturday I was at Rillito Racetrack in Tucson, watching the races. There were two horses that suffered life-ending injuries on opening day. I did something I have not done in the past – I walked out to observe both situations. I went behind the curtain. The breakdowns were horrific, disturbing, and not something I will ever be able to erase from my memory. I witnessed the horse’s leg dangling by skin with the broken bone protruding out.
On Sunday, Rillito had two more dead horses. One during racing and another during an incident in the paddock.
Something is not right in Arizona. … I was told that due to staff shortage at Turf, there is no one able to perform pre-race exams on all horses. We are also unable to pay for staff to review racing records…to determine which horse is at risk or which horse needs more scrutiny or which horse should be scratched. As it currently stands, the state of Arizona has no ability to stop an at-risk horse racing to its death.
It sickens me to know we continue to kill horses at an unprecedented rate…. Arizona horse tracks are a killing field. At this current pace, Arizona racing is facing a one to two-year window until its demise…. I personally would welcome a moratorium on racing until proper funding is enacted by the legislative bodies and proper rules are implemented. … We can change course, or we can go the way of greyhound racing, continuing to not accept responsibility for our mistakes and take corrective action.