Byline: Patrick Battuello
In recent months, much media attention has been focused on the deaths of racehorses at the famed Santa Anita track in Arcadia, California. On Sept. 28, a 3-year-old colt named Emtech sustained catastrophic injuries in the eighth race - both front legs snapped - and became the 32nd horse to die racing at Santa Anita since December. Emtech was euthanized on the track after workers had erected a green screen to block the crowd's view of a beautiful, broken animal foundering in the dirt.
If the horse racing industry could, it might like to put up a screen to shield the public view of the thousands of horses that have died at the approximately 100 racetracks, large and small, across the United States over the past several years. There is no single clearinghouse for this information, so I have endeavored, through Freedom of Information Act requests and monitoring of reports by individual tracks, to try to quantify the carnage resulting from the "sport of kings."
In the past five years, more than 5,000 racehorses have died in the United States, as documented with names, dates and locations on my website, Horseracing Wrongs. That appalling 1,000-per-year rate reflects just reportable, racing-related deaths. Hundreds more die annually in their stalls from what the industry describes as "non-racing" causes...