Imrem: Horse Racing Deaths Still Weigh Heavily on Sport

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 26, 2016 | Go to article overview

Imrem: Horse Racing Deaths Still Weigh Heavily on Sport


Byline: Mike Imrem mimrem@dailyherald.com

Imrem: Horse racing deaths still weigh heavily on sport

A racetrack is innocent at 6:50 a.m., which was when I arrived at Arlington Park a couple days ago.

A fresh sun a a gentle breeze a frisky horses out for a morning jog a exercise riders earning their keep a

I occasionally go out there to peacefully contemplate life. This week it was to confusingly contemplate horse racing.

The early-morning visit felt like a million years from last weekend's Preakness Day and a million light years from Pimlico Race Course.

A late Saturday headline on The Washington Post website read "Life and death on a rainy day at the Preakness Stakes."

Before Exaggerator beat Kentucky Derby champion in the second leg of the Triple Crown, two horses died racing on the Pimlico undercard.

Homeboykris, a 9-year-old gelding, collapsed after winning the first race. Pramedya, a 4-year-old filly, was euthanized after fracturing a leg during the fourth race.

That's horse racing. Horses are big, powerful animals pounding on skinny, fragile legs. They are bred to run and they love to run. Sad to say, sometimes they give out while giving their all.

The Washington Post story pointed out that according to The Jockey Club, "1.62 horses died every 1,000 starts in 2015."

But a headline over a commentary in the Columbus Dispatch read, "Death of horses sad, but racing isn't abusive."

The piece noted, "The Jockey Club reports that the overall fatality rate of thoroughbreds fell 14 percent between 2014 and 2015."

Cling to whichever statistic makes you more comfortable.

So, the question is whether nature just take its course or are horses run are too hard, too often and worse of all on too many medications? …

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