- DRF Bets
- Handicapping & PPsThoroughbred Past Performances
ReportsPremium NewsDigital PapersHorsemen's Products
- DRF Classic PDF PPs
- DRF Formulator PPs
- DRF EasyForm PPs
- Daily Racing Program PPs
- Equibase PPs
- TrackMaster PPs
- NewsCategoriesTrack Notes
- DRF TV
- StorePast Performances
- Compare all DRF PPs
- DRF Formulator PPs
- DRF Classic PPs
- DRF EasyForm PPs
- Daily Racing Program PPs
- Expanded Closer Looks
- Equibase & Trackmaster PPs - Thoroughbred
Updated on 12/16/2014 11:02AM
For NYRA, spate of fatalities brings back bad recent memories
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – There have been six racing fatalities through the first seven days of the Aqueduct inner-track meet, bringing back haunting memories of the 2011-12 season, when there were 21 fatalities in a four-month span.
The recent fatalities have brought the number of equine deaths suffered at the New York Racing Association’s three tracks in 2014 to 33, according to the New York State Gaming Commission’s Equine Breakdown, Injury and Incident Database. NYRA officials on Friday expressed concern about the recent fatalities but maintain that the number of catastrophic racing injuries – which they put at 22 – equals the second smallest in a quarter-century.
Nine of the 33 fatalities, NYRA officials said, are classified as “sudden death” from something such as a cardiovascular collapse or a broken neck suffered in a fall where the horse was not euthanized. NYRA classified two additional deaths as being unrelated to racing.
“We are watching. We don’t think at this stage that we’re in a red-alert situation and that 2012 is going to repeat itself,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. “But we can’t predict the future.”
The fatalities from 2011-12 prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to form the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety. That task force made a number of recommendations that NYRA has implemented and that the company believes have helped reduce fatalities, including stricter pre-race examinations.
“My people are doing everything, pre-race exams, ontrack observations, everything. If we don’t like something, you’re getting scratched, and the trainers can scream, but nobody comes and tells me not to do it,” said Dr. Anthony Verderosa, NYRA’s chief examining veterinarian. “Martin knows not to do that. We do our jobs. Everybody backs us up. When horses are at speed, and you got 18,000 starts a year, you’re going to have some unfortunate incidences, and the numbers right now – and I hate to put it in those terms – are not that bad.”
According to statistics provided by NYRA, the 22 catastrophic racing injuries is the same number as last year. The lowest number of catastrophic racing injuries in the last decade was 21 in 2004. In 2012, there were 38.
Officials and horsemen do not believe there is a safety issue with the inner track.
“We’ve had no complaints from [the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association] or the jockeys about track surface, so it fully leads us to believe that there is nothing going on with the track surfaces,” Panza said.
Both David Jacobson, whose horse Ludo Bagman suffered fractured sesamoids and had to be euthanized Thursday, and Rudy Rodriguez, whose horse Sage Valley died from cardiovascular collapse Wednesday, said the track is safe.
“A lot of people criticize the track. They don’t know what they’re looking at,” said Rodriguez, who gets on eight or nine horses each morning. “The track has been very safe.”
Dr. Scott Palmer, a member of the 2012 Task Force and now the state’s equine medical director, said NYRA still remains under the average of 2.0 per 1,000 starters in terms of catastrophic injuries, but he did say he is concerned about the recent deaths.
“Am I concerned? Absolutely,” Palmer said. “The word’s out to the trainers, ‘For crying out loud, be careful.’ This is a big, big concern, not just from the horse standpoint, but from the jockey standpoint as well.”
During Saratoga, where there were eight deaths – four of which were musculoskeletal in nature – Palmer issued a press release stating there would be a “thorough investigation” of all racing fatalities.
“All of those cases are in the review process, and we will issue a report for that when we’re done with that,” Palmer said Friday.
In regard to the increase in cardiovascular-related deaths, Palmer mentioned one possible extra pre-race examination that could be added would be a one-lead EKG that is done using an I-Phone.
However, Verderosa said that more research would be needed for that to be used at NYRA.
“It’s a long way from being put into any practical use,” Verderosa said. “I work on the practical side.”
One area where Verderosa and Palmer agreed was perhaps opening up tracks, such as Aqueduct’s inner track, earlier than had been previously done to let horses adapt to the new surface before racing starts.
“If a horse’s skeleton does not adapt to the surface it runs over, little things that are there that can’t be seen or felt even to the trainer – in their defense – they will sometimes turn into big things like catastrophic injuries,” Verderosa said.
jacobson and rudy were the trainers of two recent horses that died. i believe them when they say it was not the tracks surface..we all know as they do it was probably all the juice.
The first horse I ever heard of dying of cardiac arrest was Mr Nickerson in the BC Sprint. That was a few years before NY loosened medication rules and allowed Lasix. Don't tell me cheap claimers don't breakdown. Two NYRA legendary gelding claimers in Boom Towner and Creme de la Fete both had bowed tendons and couldnt stay straight in the stretch at 8-9 years old. Guess what happened to them? Both won a ton of races.
They don't have these kinds of numbers in Europe. They don't use dirt cleats so there is much less chance of clipping heels. Ban dirt cleats and accidents will be greatly reduced. Medications are more strictly controlled too which also helps. It can be done. Of course moving forward with anything in your country seems insanely difficult. One word comes to mind....Congress.
The bottom line is most racing fans will have to leave the game if this continues. The heartbreak of watching horses die is much stronger than the itch to gamble and to support this is morally indefensible.
central nervous system. no pain, no gain. figure it out.the shrinks have and so have the vets.
Jacobson, and Rodriguez will have a few more break down...count on it. Poor horses in their "care".
www.clockerbob.com Besides being the West Coast premiere juvenile conditioner, my boss was noted for reading four national newspapers daily. Once, he created a ‘row’ with the press by calling them dim. It seems that, over a short period of time, for reasons unknown, numerous well-conditioned thoroughbreds suddenly collapsed and died in their own footsteps. The press noted that all the sudden deaths post-mortem lab tests came back clean. My trainer worried that the Feds would figure out what was going on, in a short period of time. The labs were testing for nothing the vets were buying straight or sideways. Instead, the ‘white coats’ plundered contracts from image conscious racetracks, by searching for old PEDs under the code names of those who never lab tested positive 'Mark McGwire', 'Ryan Braun', ‘Lance Armstrong’ and ‘Oscar juice’. The frequency and brutality of breakdowns rose as the number of clean necropsy and lab reports hit a record.
Quite pathetic how Jacobson/DAS and other trainers are protected. Those that are dying on the track are NOT sound and should NOT be racing, period. People that believe the myth of the bad step are dead wrong and clueless. Ludo Bagman NEVER took a bad step and the stewards lied in their notes. They said: Ludo Bagman ""stumbled unseating rider-ran loose-pulled up", all lies people. Never stumbled, never unseated jockey, never ran loose, all facts. NYRA are a complete joke and ask yourself why they protect the likes of David Jacobson. Gutless and shameful...
One of the disadvantages of "SLOTS"
The BOTTOM line is overall the TRACK itself is safe....its what is racing over it that there is a problem.... Russell below fit it the closest...cheap horses..young jockeys...medication up the ying yang...is the cause.... I said this before and I will say it again....in NYRA..there is NO reason not to go to a 3 day week schedule- (FRI-SAT-SUN)...9 races a day from mid December to Mid March....NONE....(if you lose racing because of weather...then one weekend you can go to 10 races)...this IMPROVES quality, BIGGER fields....and LESS damage control....enough of Maiden claiming 12.5 fields..and 10 k claimers....NO OFFENSE but there are plenty of tracks local enough that can handle that (and cheaper too!)...it gives quality racing (or as much as can be considered quality at this time of year) throughout these 'tough" weather months.....this would be WIN- WIN....