24 Race Horses Die Each Week As Safety Standards Fail To Improve

James Johnson

Horse racing for those of us who pay attention to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and no other racing events might seem like a innocent enough sport, however the truth is very different.

According to a recent New York Times study 24 horses die on US race tracks each week, typically because owners push them to hard while attempting to illegally improve their horses speed, stamina and overall longevity.

In 2008 Eight Belles, a high profile horse was euthanized after breaking two ankles at the 2008 Derby, after that time race officials promised to put better standards in place, standards they have failed to even come close to meeting four years later.

In analyzing US races the New York Times examined 150,000 races from 2009 to 2011 to find that both horses and racers are being put in harms way because of lacking regulation.

Among researchers findings horses are being injured more now than ever because of casino gambling which has been added as many racetracks. Because purses raise at casino enabled tracks trainers are more willing to race injured horses. For example at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens deaths increased this year directly following new casino gambling capabilities.

The study also found that drugs are likely causing much of a horses problems as they are given everything from cancer drugs and cobra venom to Viagra in an attempt to make them stronger and ultimately faster. The bigger issue however is therapeutic drugs which can push a horse to run through pain which in turn causes then to suffer severe injury and sometimes death.

The problem with race horse deaths has become so worrisome that HBO's show Luck was cancelled after just two months when three horses died in a short period of time during the filming of the horse racing series.

Officials have not responded to how they plan to fix the horse death issue in the United States.