In a new series on horseracing, the Times does a great job exploring the changing marketplace of the sport, and how tracks today can be more dangerous for animals and their handlers than in the past.
A key fact from the latest edition is that trainers are increasingly pumping pain drugs into horses who shouldn’t be racing — just to turn a small profit.
The most shocking stat, however, is this: since the casino opened at Aqueduct, horse deaths have topped 30, increasing 100 percent compared to the same period last year.
These developments come shortly after reports surfaced in March that Aqueduct had already broken its record for horse deaths.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for investigation into the fatalities, which tend to happen at the low end of the racing spectrum in what are referred to as “claiming races.”
Because these cheaper horses’ competitions now get buoyed by casino cash, the winnings can vastly exceed the value of the horse.
What this means: There’s little incentive to think of horses’ long-term health, so they increasingly get run in races when they are injured or sick.
The New York Racing Association has shot back at the paper, telling reporters: “It would be inappropriate and irresponsible of The New York Times to speculate on the reasons for breakdowns and injuries.”
We have to say: No, NYRA, the Times‘ analysis is not inappropriate. What’s actually inappropriate is that so many horses are dying at the track.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.