The NY Times’ piece on March 24th about the “DEATH AND DISARRAY AT AMERICA’S RACETRACKS” looks at the injury and death rates of horses and jockeys across the country.
The Times analysis found that horses in claiming races have a 22 percent greater chance of breaking down or showing signs of injury than horses in higher grade races. That lower level of race has been particularly affected by the arrival of casinos.
At Aqueduct, most of the 16 horses that have died so far this year were in the lower ranks, where purses have increased the fastest because of new casino money.
16 horses have already died at one racino this year? That article was published at the end of the 12th week of the year.
The analysis showed that during those three years the rate of incidents for horses in the United States was 5.2 per 1,000 starts.
By contrast, Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, which year after year has one of the lowest breakdown rates in North America, had an incident rate of only 1.4, according to the Times analysis. “One of the differences here is medication is not as permissive as it is in the U.S.,” said Jamie Martin, executive vice president of racing at Woodbine.
According to the analysis, five of the six tracks with the highest incident rates last year were in New Mexico. All are casino tracks, commonly called “racinos.”
I have a hunch Zygi Wilf could care less how the State of Minnesota comes up with the more half a billion in cash he’s demanding we provide to subsidize his bottom line. But, we should care.