Racing industry needs to share equine injury news consistently

POSTED ON  |  07-08-2019

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On Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, there was a delay between the sixth and seventh races. Horses were held in the paddock, and people viewing the races wondered on social media what was going on. It was a beautiful day without a hint of rain, so weather wasn’t causing the hold-up. Even people who were at the races weren’t sure what was happening.

The personal Twitter account of Keith McCalmont, communications manager in the New York Racing Association press office, provided some information. “Sundae on Sunday went down in the…Saratoga 6th unseating Rajiv Maragh. The horse is being attended to on track. Rajiv walked off under his own power.”

From afar, the 10-year-old horse seemed to be suffering from something other than a catastrophic industry, perhaps exhaustion or a heat-related malady. Veterinarians worked for at least 15 minutes to get the horse on his feet, but he was eventually euthanized, as McCalmont reported, the result of a “catastrophic injury behind.” The seventh race was delayed because, with an injured horse on the track, the racing surface couldn’t be groomed. The official social media accounts for the New York Racing Association offered no explanation, and no announcement was made on track or on the broadcast for the delay.

Especially in today’s racing environment, when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals regularly sends out press releases about injured horses and when protests are a daily occurrence at racing events, racetrack management might be understandably reticent about bringing attention to this element of the sport, and it is important to note that a NYRA representative did provide real-time information about the incident and its outcome. Even in the past, when NYRA didn’t publicly acknowledge injuries and deaths, veterinary and media personnel from the racing association have always responded to queries with timely and detailed information.

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