Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Ashe Schow.
The Sport of Kings is under renewed scrutiny due to a long list of horse deaths at famed Southern California racetrack Santa Anita. But while 32 deaths at one track is horrifying, it is not uncommon in a sport where horses die every week while competing.
The New York Times reported
that Emtech, a 3-year-old colt was euthanized on Saturday after breaking both of his legs during a race at Santa Anita. Emtech was the 32nd horse to die at the racetrack since December.
Emtech had a history of physical problems, multiple outlets reported. He was purchased in 2018 for $75,000 but that sale was voided after he was inspected by state veterinarians and determined to be unsound (a condition that that could interfere with his ability to race). He was placed on a list by state veterinarians. The Los Angeles Times reported that he was placed on this list after racing successfully six times. At the end of October 2018, "he failed a workout that would have removed him from the list,"
the LA Times reported.
By June 2019 he was removed from the list. Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinarian for the group that owns Santa Anita, told the Times the company would "open an immediate review into what factors could have contributed to Emtech's injury."
As the Times reported, "Santa Anita's problems are hardly isolated"
Nearly 10 horses a week on average died at American racetracks in 2018, according to the Jockey Club's Equine Injury Database. That figure is anywhere from two and a half to five times greater than the fatality rate in Europe and Asia, where rules against performance-enhancing drugs are enforced more stringently.
At Belmont Park in New York, home of the Belmont Stakes, there have been seven fatalities because of injuries over the past 18 race days - four in afternoon racing and three in morning training hours. On Friday, the Keeneland fall meet, an elite and highly anticipated race meeting in Lexington, Kentucky, will open amid heightened anxiety after a troubling rash of horse fatalities in its spring meet.
Keeneland had four race-related deaths - three on dirt and one on turf - over the course of its 16 racing days, for a rate of 3.12 fatalities per 1,000 starts, or almost twice the national average.
New York attempted to put a stop to horse deaths back in 2012 after 21 horses died within six months at state racetracks. The state eventually created stricter policies on medication and safety, but it did not end the deaths.
Emtech was on the front stretch on Saturday when he fell to the ground. His jockey, Mario Gutierrez was thrown to the ground but uninjured. Track veterinarians rushed to the colt as he struggled, and made the immediate decision to euthanize him. The New York Post reported
that track workers held up a green screen to hide the colt from view.
Emtech's tragic death came just days after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) called the previous deaths at the racetrack a "disgrace."