At 11:35 this morning, the 1st race at Finger Lakes went off. A couple minutes later, Giant Sandy was “pulled up in distress” and “vanned off.” Shortly thereafter, the 3-year-old was dead – “euthanized due to poor prognosis” (Gaming Commission).

A couple hours later, downstate at Aqueduct, Clear the Ramp, also three, “suffered a catastrophic injury” in the 4th. He, too, was euthanized.

Last year, 100 racehorses lost their lives at New York State tracks. This year, the toll stands at 90 – with over a month to go. The lie of “safer racing” laid bare, yet again.

The 1st at Laurel yesterday: “Aikenetta set the pace along the rail, dropped back through the stretch, was unsaddled, collapsed and perished walking back to the barn” (Equibase).

“was unsaddled, collapsed and perished walking back to the barn”

First things first: Aikenetta was just five years old, still growing – collapsed and died. That collapse, by the way, came after she was mercilessly whipped down the stretch.

Aikenetta is the 5 horse…

Second, Racing’s answer to its current media crisis (it’s a crisis only because they’re getting hammered in the press) is endless babble about what they’re doing to reduce “musculoskeletal breakdowns” – state-of-the-art surface testing, more vets, better screening (MRI machines coming soon!), etc. The clear implication, of course, is that these “sudden deaths” are freak things, that they don’t – or shouldn’t – count. Indeed, whenever a track or state touts its “improved safety” record, it’s almost always relayed as a “catastrophic injury” (musculoskeletal) ratio – the hundreds of prime-of-life, supposedly finely-tuned “athletes” just dropping dead every year be damned.

Finally, this was the first of nine races at Laurel yesterday. In other words, the rest of the day’s card – entertainment – continued with nary a moment of silence for the dead “athlete.” The obscenity of horseracing-as-sport laid bare, yet again.