11 Horse Deaths At New York Race Tracks in 2021 Underscore Need for Reforms

Saratoga Race Course

Saratoga Race Course

AWA executive director Marty Irby testifying at a House hearing on H.R. 1754 in January 2020

AWA executive director Marty Irby testifying at a House hearing on H.R. 1754 in January 2020

Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes

Our iconic American equines deserve better.”— Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness ActionELMONT, NEW YORK , USA , February 25, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Even though a new federal anti-doping law has been enacted, there has been a rash of racehorse deaths in recent weeks, reminding the industry and the American public that the law has not taken full effect and doping remain an issue for all Americans concerned about horse and jockey safety on American race tracks. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), which doesn’t become effective until mid-2022 bans the use of race-day medication and creates a uniform national standard for drug testing in the U.S. overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

According to racing industry data from Equibase and the New York Racing Association (NYRA), nearly a dozen horses have died at New York tracks at Belmont Park, Aqueduct in Queens, and Monticello in 2021. As horse racing continues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the reported deaths in New York follow a report from the Associated Press highlighting a similar number of horse racing-related deaths in California, an investigative report that revealed 113 deaths in Florida from 2019-2021 from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and the Associated Press’ report of numerous deaths at Charles Town Race Course in West Virginia.

“The continued rash of racehorse deaths in New York and around the U.S underscores the need for aggressive implementation of the law and for an adherence to best practices in the industry, whether required by law or not,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action in Washington, D.C. who testified before Congress on the subject of horse racing welfare concerns in 2020. “Race track operators and racing authorities should evaluate track surfaces and safety, ban the use of the whip, and implement new policies to prevent American racehorses from ending up slaughtered as slabs of meat on foreign dinner plates. Our iconic American equines deserve better.”

Known New York Race Horse Deaths from January 1 – February 25, 2021:
1/1/21: Sander’s Empire, Aqueduct – “suffered an injury, euthanized on track”
1/1/21: Escape, Belmont – “collapsed while breezing,” euthanized on
1/7/21: All Mo, Belmont – “open distal radial fracture”
1/8/21: Spy Story, Aqueduct – “took bad steps”
1/12/21: That’s Official, Monticello – “collapsed…died on track”
1/29/21: Cerretalto, Belmont – “colic…euthanized due to poor prognosis”
2/4/21: Oh My Papa, Belmont – “suffered injuries while breezing”
2/6/21: Daytime Doll, Belmont – “pulled up…euthanized on track”
2/9/21: Kj Brent, Monticello – “euthanized in barn following fall and fracture”
2/15/21: Nisbet Beach, Aqueduct – “fell heavily…euthanized on track”
2/20/21: Prospect Mountain, Belmont – “sustained mid-body fractures”

Irby, who was recently honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect American equines, led the charge within the animal protection space in support of HISA and has long advocated ending the use of the whip, and for the passage of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, led by U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that would ban horse slaughter on U.S. soil, and ban the transport of American equines for the purposes of slaughter.

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Marty Irby
Animal Wellness Action
+1 202-821-5686
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Marty Irby before the Horseracing Integrity Act hearing

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