Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack logged 2013 victim number 40 yesterday when 5-year-old My Lovers Eyes “broke [his] right knee while switching leads [and was] euthanized on track” (curiously, Equibase had him as pulled up and vanned off). The gelding was ridden by David Lopez, trained by Michael Ferraro, and owned by the Peters family. Since NY is still the only state to disclose deaths as they happen, one wonders how many of the other nine horses vanned off American tracks Friday are already dead.

Two Roses, an unraced 3-year-old filly, snapped her right front leg while “breezing” at Belmont yesterday and was euthanized on-track. This is Belmont’s third dead horse-in-training in the past week; to date, 32 Thoroughbreds have been killed racing or training there this year (and 5 others from “non-racing” causes). Dead athletes. This is horseracing.

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This site is occasionally rebuked – by the racers, of course – for almost exclusively focusing on “bad news.” To which, I ask, have they read our “about” statement? In any event, I am not at all interested in hearing about kind, hard-working, or reform-minded horsemen. If they’re in racing, they’re exploiting animals for personal gain. Period.

Today, though, I do present some happier tidings – according to me, of course. From the Paulick Report (11/20/13): “As it engages ongoing competitive challenges that include gaming-enhanced purses at other racetracks and continued growth of casino competition in its home region, Churchill Downs Racetrack (‘CDRT’) has announced a reduction in purses that will affect four races scheduled during the eight days remaining in the 25-day Fall Meet that continues through Saturday, Nov. 30.”

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Two stakes races will have reduced purses, and two other races will be eliminated entirely. Now, is this a case of one state’s loss is another’s gain? Perhaps. But if the Indiana horse people are doing well, it is only through state largess – the racino structure funnels millions of unearned, non-racing, life-sustaining dollars into the hands of happy horsemen. This, the Kentucky people say, is exactly what we need. Irony, yet again: Currently, Indiana racing has an unfair advantage, but if Kentucky succeeds in securing its own subsidies, it too would have an unfair advantage – over other entertainment venues. For now, though, I choose to file less money, less racing at Churchill Downs in the “good news” department.

The News 4 I-Team (Washington) reports (11/13/13) that the Charles Town racetrack in West Virginia – one of the nation’s busiest, running, basically, year-round – has recorded 54 2013 deaths (46 in-competition) through 9/4, and 144 over the past two years. In 2011, 47 horses perished. On the spike, a spokesman for Charles Town’s operator, Penn National Gaming (yes, Charles Town is a racino, with slots and table games jacking up purses for bottom-tier racing), said this:

“Charles Town is the venue. We have, however, limited impact on the races and those horses competing at our facilities. We maintain our track, surfaces and facilities at the highest standards. We have no control over the physical condition and training of horses entered in our races. We do not know if that horse has a prior injury, has been medicated beyond legal limits or has been trained too much or too little.” How comforting.

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