WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Horse racing has recently drawn scrutiny after an alarming number of racehorse deaths were put into the spotlight.
- New York race tracks have seen 10 racehorse deaths within nine days in July, and a total of 50 horse deaths since January 2.
- But it turns out the death toll is not a new phenomenon and is reportedly seeing a steady decline since 2010.
Horses have been dying at an alarming rate across New York race tracks.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported ten racehorse deaths within nine days in July across four New York race tracks.
East Coast racing comes into the spotlight just after the increased scrutiny facing Santa Anita. The Los Angeles-area track, which hosts the lucrative Breeder’s Cup, has seen 30 racehorse deaths this season.
According to the Democrat and Chronicle, there have been a total of 50 horse deaths at 11 New York race tracks since January 2.
Twenty-one of those deaths occurred at Belmont Park, which hosts the third leg of the coveted Triple Crown. According to the report, Belmont Park has had 436 deaths since 2009, making it the deadliest track for horses in New York over that time span.
Causes of death include racing and training incidents as well as “non-racing” causes.
But even with the newfound scrutiny, horse racing has always been a deadly sport and will likely continue to be so. This was pretty much acknowledged by New York Racing Association executive director David O’Rourke.
O’Rourke spoke with New York Now about safety measures intended to reduce deaths at state tracks. But he admitted that “getting the number to zero is not realistic.”
“I think creating the safest environment possible is our goal, and that’s pretty much the commitment and culture this organization is built around,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state records — which were started in 2009 — show that the death toll is on pace for a lower rate.
The report stated that between 2009 and 2018, New York had 1,357 horse deaths, which averages 135.7 horse deaths per year. After a peak of 207 deaths in 2010, the report shows a mostly steady decline.
NYRA spokesman Pat McKenna told the Democrat and Chronicle that this may be attributed to track surface upgrades and investment in better equipment and technology.
McKenna declared the sport “safer now than at any point in recent memory.”
But after the spate of deaths at Santa Anita, people are paying more attention now — and all they see are 10 deaths in nine days and a total of 50 since the start of the year.