Numerous recent horse deaths at Aqueduct race track are troubling

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Since November 30, 16 horses have died due to racing injuries at Aqueduct in New York State.

The New York Daily News reports Governor Andrew Coumo is calling for an investigation into the deaths. Of course, one of the first questions that comes to mind is why track officials did not shut down the racing there long before 16 horses had died.

Cuomo is asking the New York Racing Association to hire an outside investigator in the case. But the Daily News notes the NYRA is already claiming the particular inner-dirt track is safe. It’s a good thing the NYRA isn’t involved in traffic safety or restaurant inspections. It might claim 16 deaths at a dangerous intersection within four months isn’t a big deal.

But this NY Daily News story contains two very important quotes – admissions from racing insiders on how dangerous the horse-racing industry is for the horses.

Horse trainer Graham Motion is quoted as saying, “The highs are high and the lows are low no doubt about it.”

Gretchen Jackson told the Daily News – “They bump into a fence and break a bone. You don’t know how easy it is for a horse to fatally injure himself. The power, the strength, the agility and speed of a horse, and underneath it all is a very fragile animal.”

Her horse Barbaro was euthanized eight months after breaking a leg during the 2006 Preakness Stakes. He eventually fell victim to laminitis in both front legs.

While the article kept relating back to the cancelled HBO series “Luck,” the two quotes above should be the central focus in this debate. Why is this industry allowed to race “very fragile” animals?

Horses are dying far too often on tracks in and beyond New York and untold numbers are being sent off to die in slaughterhouses once they are no longer money-makers for the industry.

And I can’t write about this subject without reminding the media and others that horse racing is NOT a sport. It would only be a sport if the horses rode on the backs of the jockeys.

I know its big money, this upper level of the horse-racing industry and I know some people have jobs at tracks and on farms where they train the horses. But none of that can serve as a logical excuse for this abuse to go on.

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