As NYRA Continues to Kill, It Asks For More Gifts From the State

The NYS Gaming Commission has finally confirmed the death of Cajun Commander, an “injured/placed in protective hold/vanned off” at Aqueduct Nov 12. He was four years old; ’twas his 13th time under the whip.

The New York Racing Association is now responsible for 60 dead horses (35 at Belmont, 13 at Saratoga, 12 at Aqueduct) this year, and 1,053 since 2009. And yet, this killing machine has the audacity (I’m trying to keep this post professional) to ask the state for a half a billion in state-backed bonds to renovate Belmont – with, even worse, the bonds being repaid with the corporate welfare they’re already receiving.

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20 Comments

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  1. I still read these but the suffering of the voiceless animals is getting to me. Humans are so cruel and ignorant

  2. NY Racing is in big trouble, and has been for quite a while, and they can’t exist without these subsidies. I was told [and I’m not sure if this is true or not, but it sounds about right] that the Saratoga Meet, and Belmont Stakes Day are THE ONLY times when NYRA operates in the black – they lose money all the rest of the year!

    Hence, they really do need these subsidies to survive.

    I still say that Aqueduct will close for good, and very soon. The ‘renovation’ at Belmont Park includes the installation of both an all-weather track, as well as a heating system in the building to allow for year-round racing. NYRA can no longer justify keeping three tracks open that bleed money day in and day out – even WITH the subsidies.

    While it may seem to most that the mayhem and s** show is only moving from one venue to another, I think you may also see a decline in the amount of the racing product, i.e., they may pull a ‘Meadowlands’ where they have racing only on the weekends, with mostly simulcasting throughout the week. Or, perhaps they’ll have racing only on a limited number of days per week. Let’s face it, nobody closes business when they’re making money.

    Can’t go on forever. But they won’t get any more of my money, that’s for sure.

    -Joe

    • Within the last three years, most likely 2019 or 2020, I read an article that the NYRA had as part of their huge renovation plans to eventually close Aqueduct on purpose. I can’t find that article now and I don’t remember the name of the article. There seems to be some mixed messages about that, however, as I attempt to find the article with this information.

      • Patrick, The last tine I was at Aqueduct Racetrack, and this was about maybe three or four years ago, it was so empty, I thought they actually cancelled the card that day! And today, it’s gotta be getting even worse.

        Also, the Saratoga Meet is staring to show some cracks in the armor, as well. Many years ago I had to book a table in the Turf Terrace MONTHS in advance, even on non-stakes day weekdays! Now, even with their new highly self-lauded ‘1863’ club, which allows dining room seating for many more patrons AND cost millions to build, racing attendance there is slowly but surely starting to dwindle.

        I always had a great time, in all the years I went to Saratoga, but once one’s eyes have been opened to the horror, abuse, cheating, and lying, it’s something you simply cannot un-see.

        Again, no, I will not be going back.

        -Joe

  3. I’m sure NYRA feels that the land Aqueduct sits on is worth more than trying to keep all three tracks open and operating…

    Nothing’s to big to fail. Hollywood Park was once THE premier racing destination in southern California. We all know how that went.

    Not sure if you know this, but several years ago NYRA sold off a huge chunk of the Aqueduct land that was used as parking lots. Aqueduct used to host 40,000+ patrons a day, and parking was important. With the steady decline in attendance, now I think it’s unlikely that they host 40,000 people a year!

    I think a supermarket and strip mall complex sits on that former Aqueduct parcel now.

    -Joe

  4. It sounds delusional for the members of the New York Racing Association to go ahead with big plans to “build bigger and better” while the wagering handle is down and in a state of decline, the attendance of bettors and spectators is down and in a state of decline, and from 1986 to 2022 the population of Thoroughbred horses is down and in a state of constant decline. This trend appears to be a permanent state of affairs with no reversal of decline in any part of the foreseeable future.

  5. Eventually, horse racing will go the way of the animal circuses, the sea worlds, and the dog tracks; the public is losing interest in animal shows, and looking more towards human-oriented sports, where the athletes actually have a say in what, where, and how they will compete. Oh, the racing industry knows this only too well; they may be dishonest and cruel, but they’re not stupid. They’ll just try to wring every last buck out of their patrons until the public finally says, “no more!”

    I can’t say this enough – this a very bad game for all involved and is only getting worse.
    Stay away.

    -Joe

    • I beg to differ on the point of “they’re not stupid” because if I ran yearlings and Two-year-olds at a full gallop and let the natural consequences happen which is always a bad outcome for the horses, some sooner and some later, I would consider myself really ******* stupid!!!!!! Likewise, I consider the generally industry-wide accepted practice of using yearlings and Two-year-olds for racing a very stupid practice.

      • Just to clarify, I know that they don’t write races for Yearlings, but this industry is full of people who exploit yearlings for racing as Two-year-olds. The undercover videos of the well-known auction houses such as Keeneland and Ocala run yearlings under saddle. If you have seen this horrible and incredibly stupid abuse of yearlings, I think you would agree that it is stupid besides horribly cruel. What is the point of causing a “promising” yearling to be forced to run as fast as he or she can possibly run only to break both front legs and/or drop dead from a heatstroke? Does that sound smart? No, it’s some of the most stupidest things that human beings can do.

  6. Webster tells us that ‘stupid’, means, “having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense.”

    Although I respect Wanda’s opinion, I stand by my comment. These people are not stupid, and know EXACTLY what they are doing, They are intelligent enough to use their knowledge and training abilities to get the maximum performance out of their horses, no matter what the cost, and as bears out quite often, to the great detriment of the animal. Horses, to them, are simply the “tools of their trade” and these connections care little for the horses’ well-being. Their logic being that if they can’t get a horse up to speed, and he [she] breaks down, then so what? There’s always more horses. And insurance.

    Cruel and inhumane? Absolutely and unquestionably. Stupid? No, because their aim is to find out how fast these horses can run, and at any costs. Sadly, the life of these animals means little, if anything at all to them, as long as they can winnow out the fastest of the fast to be turned out on race day..

    Most reasonable and humane people have difficulty and a real problem in understanding the depth of these folks’ desire to win at the blatant disregard for the animal’s life and safety. I know I do. But, it’s not ‘stupid’ if their methods ultimately achieves their goals – to win races. Horrible, awful, inhumane and despicable – yup.

    Wanda states, “What is the point of causing a “promising” yearling to be forced to run as fast as he or she can possibly run only to break both front legs and/or drop dead from a heatstroke? “Does that sound smart? “No, it’s some of the most stupidest things that human beings can do.”

    The point is that they will PUSH the animal to see it’s limitations and how much it will take. Once again, better [for them] to find out the horse can’t make the grade during an early workout rather than take the chance of [gasp!] losing a race! You see, most kind and considerate people feel for the horse’s well being, and care about its life. Racetrack connections care only about winning races, at any and all costs.

    -Joe

    • Joe, you have explained the greed and moral depravity of these heartless people very well.
      Why should these despicable people use common sense in taking care of the horses and protecting them from unnecessary and undue harm when throwing out all of the basic qualities of true horsemanship is allowed?!
      You have stated in a previous post that you think these people are stupid because they pay thousands of dollars for a horse (sometimes more money than some people pay for their house) and then run the horse to fatal injuries. You mentioned a trifecta: stupid, greedy and cruel.

  7. I did.

    But I suppose I should clarify my statement somewhat. Since it’s the OWNERS who supply most of the money to buy the horses for their connections to train, or claim them, yeah, they should be exempted from my original statement because- yes, quite often they ARE really stupid!

    And, no, there is NO “true horsemanship” in the thoroughbred racing world. It’s win races at all costs. Horsemanship and care of the animal doesn’t even enter into it, if it means that it might cost them a win.

    Owners, on the other hand, are blinded by the power and the ‘moment in the spotlight’ [the winner’s circle], that they crave. Most owners are extremely wealthy and money alone means little to them. They are ALSO often blissfully unaware of what the trainers and backstretch connections are doing to their charges behind their backs. I still contend the trainers and backstretch connections are not at all stupid, but very devious AND manipulative, Occasionally trainers do buy horses themselves to train, but they will dump a slow horse faster than a young lady will dump a cheating boyfriend if said horse doesn’t measure ‘up to snuff’.

    Non-training owners say they fall in love with their horses, but what they are really falling in love with is the glory that comes with a winning race from one of their ‘pets’.

    So, yeah, I’ll agree, the owners can be considered stupid, and they do complete the trifecta of greedy, stupid and cruel. But I know from experience that owners are quite often kept in the dark as to the actual condition of their own horses.
    -Joe

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