A grim winter at Aqueduct
In late 2011 and early 2012, horses racing at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York died in alarming numbers: 21 of them between Nov. 30, 2011 and March 18, 2012, nearly double the number that suffered catastrophic injuries in the same period the previous year.
It was a time of transition in New York racing: just months before, Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct had opened, and slots money began flowing to purses at the New York City track, resulting in inflated prize money at every level of racing, including the lowest claiming ranks, where purses in some cases jumped by more than 200 percent.
It was supposed to be a time to celebrate stability in the sport; after a decade of legal and financial troubles, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) was supposed to be breathing easy. Instead, it was under scrutiny for the worst of reasons.
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Photo credit NYRA/Adam Coglianese