PETA Wants Answers On Preakness Horse Deaths

PETA is not happy with Preakness. The 2016 Preakness Stakes races at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore resulted in the death of two horses, according to CBS News, and now the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants some answers — and some medical records.

Homeboykris, the winner of the first Preakness race of the day, died suddenly right after he had his picture taken in the winner’s circle. Three races later, Pramedya had to be euthanized on the track after breaking her left front cannon bone while making a turn during the fourth race of the day. Pramedya’s jockey, Daniel Centano, was thrown from the horse and was hospitalized with a broken collarbone.

According to ESPN, PETA promptly issued a statement on the two deaths, slamming the rampant use of medications given to racehorses and requesting the horse’s veterinary records be made public. PETA also wants to know what types of medications Homeboykris and Pramedya had taken in the two weeks leading up to the high-profile horse race. PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo issued the statement on Saturday afternoon.

“Studies — and our own investigations — have shown that most breakdowns and deaths occur because horses have pre-existing injuries that are masked by the excessive use of legal medications. We want to know if that is what happened in the cases of Pramedya and Homeboykris,” the PETA vice president said. “We have been advocating for no medications to be administered to horses in the two weeks before a race so that if a horse is sore or ill, the track veterinarian will be able to detect it. In today’s racing drug culture, at least three horses are dying every day on U.S. tracks. The foolish use of muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medications must end now.”

Pimlico officials believe Homeboykris, a 9-year-old gelding owned by Jan Klein, suffered cardiovascular collapse shortly after his winning run. An autopsy will be performed by New Bolton veterinary center in Pennsylvania, where famed Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was treated a decade ago.

In a disturbing coincidence, Pramedya, a 4-year-old filly who also died today, was owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables, the same stable that owned Barbaro. The 2006 Kentucky Derby champ broke his right hind leg during the 2006 Preakness races and complications from the injury (laminitis) led to the horse’s death eight months later.

Sadly, horse racing deaths are not all that uncommon. PETA tweeted that three horses die every day on race tracks in North America.

In 2008, Eight Belles died at the Kentucky Derby. PETA protested the Baltimore Preakness race that year to try to raise awareness about the questionable practices of the racing industry.

It’s not surprising that PETA has long taken issue with industries that use animals for entertainment. The PETA website details a long description of the perils of horse racing, describing the animals as “victims of a multibillion-dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, injuries, and race fixing.” In addition, PETA reports that after they stop winning races or become injured, many racehorses end up in slaughterhouses because owners don’t want to pay for a horse that is no longer able to bring in any money.

PETA is currently asking for support for The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2015. The act aims to monitor the drug use in horse racing and raise penalties for those who overuse drug medications.

PETA isn’t alone when it comes to outrage over today’s racing tragedy. Social media users were vocal about their concerns over what is becoming an increasingly dangerous sport—for both horses and their jockeys.

[Photo by (Patrick Smith/Getty Images]