On Sunday morning not long before post time, several dozen protestors gathered on the corner of East and Union Avenues. They held signs decrying the deaths of nine Thoroughbreds here since the meet began on July 22, one reading “Stop Racing Horses to the Grave.”
Though the views of most people attending the track are likely to be more moderate than those of the protestors, we should all be concerned that, on the 16th day of the meeting, the number of equine fatalities has already surpassed the total at last summer’s meet.
At nearly every public presentation this year, the New York Racing Association has touted its record in improving the rate in catastrophic breakdowns at its three racetracks, noting in April that its rate for racing fatalities is 1.3 per 1,000 starts, below the national average.
That is indeed good news, but it is a troublingly incomplete picture of equine safety at the three NYRA tracks. For instance, three horses died here last summer during racing. Four died during training, and those numbers don’t make it into published fatality rates.
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