Racing at Laurel has officially been canceled for the entire weekend. And now it’s beginning to make more sense. Bigmancan, who was a “pulled up lame, vanned off” Thursday, is confirmed dead, the second kill at Laurel that day – actually, in back-to-back races (Golden Pegasus preceded him). Bigman would have turned six tomorrow.
As mentioned yesterday, this is the second time in two weeks that Laurel has had to suspend racing, with each prompted by multiple kills (on Apr 8, two horses perished during morning training). There is, as you can probably imagine, a lot of finger pointing, with the horsemen blaming the track and the track suggesting otherwise:
Laurel owner Maryland Jockey Club (aka Stronach Group): “MJC will also be discussing plans for implementation of updated safety and veterinary protocols….”
Tim Keefe, representing the owners and trainers (to The Racing Biz): “These are not the result of horsemen that are sending out bad horses. They’re just not.”
And now the truth: From breeding for speed, to employing pubescent bodies, to the incessant grinding – not to mention commodification – of those bodies, to forcing them to run at an unnatural rate, in an unnatural way, and through unnatural means, horseracing guarantees a certain level of killing. Guarantees. And what’s more, the racing people know it. What you are seeing is what has heretofore been their tried and true when up against it: distract, deflect, dissemble, deceive. Except now, largely because of us, it’s not so easy to get away with it.