Sport of Kings–In Crisis”
The firestorm of controversy refuses to go away in horse racing.
We have come thru a springtime of trauma in the Triple Crown.
The DQ of the Kentucky Derby winner, followed by the lawsuit over Maximum Security being disqualified to blocking down the final stretch.
We saw the fiasco of the start of the Preakness, with a horse throwing its jockey out of the gate, nearly causing a calamity with other horses all around.
The Belmont Stakes saw an upset winner in Sir Winston, who had won just 3-of-10 races growing into 3-year old status.
It’s been a messy season with injuries, illnesses, surgeries hitting the Derby and Preakness winners.
It’s been a spring of controversy too with the owners of the historic Laurel and Pimlico tracks, in Maryland, being accused of profiteering, and letting Pimlico become a dump.
Only 10-horses went to post at the Belmont, one of the crown jewels.
But all that pales in comparison to the real crisis on the West Coast, the mounting death toll at Santa Anita.
28-horses have died since Christmas Day. No one understands why. Broken legs, damaged ligaments, fractured joints, torn labrum, pelvis injuries.
Leadership has no answers at all.
Are the horse training too much? Does the use of Lasix, to help internal bleeding, have something to do with this? Is the use of diuretics changing a horses’s body chemistry? Is the use of whips in racing pushing the horses to the extremes of exertion?
No one seems to be making much of an issue of the track surfaces at Santa Anita are they? Something wrong with the dirt surface? The compound of dirt-clay? The watering schedule?
The number of breakdowns and the euthenization issues, are staggering. More, fatalities at one track, than the rest of the state. The gruesome ratio of deaths at Santa Anita is far beyond any of the other tracks nationwide.
No one knows, if this strictly a Santa Anita problem, or an epidemic nationwide.
Now the California Horse Racing Board has asked Santa Anita to shutdown the rest of the spring schedule, and they have refused.
We know this for certain. Delmar opens July 11th, and you wonder if this torrent of death will continue to this track.
And more importantly, the Breeders Cup, the big money weekend in racing, is supposed to come to Santa Anita in November. Will all those super star horses be put at risk?
28-horses dead at one track. Something terrible is causing all this at this heritage track.
Ignoring it, denying it, not addressing it, is almost as bad as allowing racing to continue thru the end of the spring meet June 23rd.
Horse racing needs to pull the Breeders Cup. Santa Anitta’s ownership needs to take ownership at what has happened at this track.
None of that is happening. The industry facing its own euthenization if they don’t act.