Act Now or Pay the Price: The Crisis Horse Racing Can’t Ignore!

Whether you're a seasoned equestrian or a beginner, safety should always be a priority. One of the most effective safety measures is wearing an airbag vest. In this article, we'll delve into five compelling reasons why every rider should consider this essential gear. And trust us, reason number four will genuinely surprise you!

Act Now or Pay the Price: The Crisis Horse Racing Can’t Ignore!

In an unsettling turn of events, Practical Move, a 3-year-old thoroughbred, died just days before the Breeders’ Cup. This latest tragedy is forcing the industry to reevaluate its approach to horse welfare, especially as Arcangelo, the Belmont Stakes winner, was also scratched from the $6 million classic. What do these incidents mean for the future of horse racing?

Practical Move, a budding star in the horse racing world with earnings close to $1 million, was set to make a dramatic appearance in the Breeders’ Cup. Tragically, during a morning gallop at Santa Anita Park, the horse collapsed and died. While still under investigation, it is suspected that the young thoroughbred suffered from a cardiac arrest.

A Troubled History: Previous Cancellations and Earnings

This was not the first setback for the horse. He had been scratched from the Kentucky Derby in May due to a fever. Regardless, Practical Move had an impressive run with five wins in eight career starts and earnings of $923,200.

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Safety Measures Fall Short: PETA Speaks Out

The death of Practical Move has provoked renewed interest from PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals). The organization highlighted that at least 71 horses have died in California’s racing scene this year alone, calling for more robust safety measures.

The State of Horse Safety: A Look at the Numbers

It’s essential to contextualize this tragedy within the broader issue of horse safety. More than 30 horses died at Santa Anita in 2019, leading to a significant revamp in safety protocols. Since those changes, horse fatalities have decreased by 55% in California.

The Domino Effect: Arcangelo’s Scratch

Shortly after Practical Move’s death, another startling announcement followed. Arcangelo, who won the Belmont Stakes in June, was scratched from the $6 million classic. Trainer Jena Antonucci cited issues with Arcangelo’s left hind foot as the reason. The removal of a shoe from that foot also led to the horse missing two days of training.

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The back-to-back incidents involving Practical Move and Arcangelo serve as a grim reminder of the sport’s vulnerabilities. The industry must confront its challenges head-on if it wishes to maintain its reputation and the welfare of its equine athletes.

As we move closer to other prestigious racing events, the conversation around horse safety measures is likely to intensify, pushing for more comprehensive changes that can prevent such devastating losses in the future.

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As the horse racing community grapples with these unsettling incidents, it’s crucial to hear from fans, experts, and advocates alike. Do you think the industry is doing enough to protect its athletes, both human and equine? What changes would you like to see implemented to ensure the safety of these majestic creatures?

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  • Pat Gauvreau Reply

    It can’t be just track conditions causing all these fatalities and other lameness and health issues. At some point breeding stock that retired young before proving longevity, raising foals in unnatural settings for proper mental and physical development, feeding for “sale bodies”, instead of skeletal development, training two yr olds speed too fast and racing too young, before their skeleton has matured, (takes 5 years to mature) must all be considered as contributing factors.
    It’s time to take a deep dive into the cause of the ongoing problems. It definitely isn’t track surfaces or a “mis-step” as they like to say. It’s the mentality of “quick return on investment” that’s rushing these young horses to an early grave. It’s time to put the blame where it belongs.

    November 3, 2023 at 5:48 am

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