During the most recent “Let's Talk” Podcast put on by the TDN, Eclipse Award winning trainer Brad Cox stated, “I think there's a lot of negativity around the game and if we want to draw new people in, we should probably try to kill it with the negativity, if we could, and promote the game.”
I completely agree with this sentiment, and I do think most racing publications do try to promote and showcase the good of the sport along with the bad. I know at ThoroFan we try to do that in our attempt to both bring in new fans and be a central voice for the fans in general in this great game.
However, to be able to “kill it with the negativity,” as Cox states, then it must be the industry and its members that provide us with that avenue to do so. It is very hard for anyone to really promote the positive in the game, when such a glaring an incident as the one that took place at Turf Paradise has been met with barely a whisper by the industry itself.
The fact that Creative Plan was even allowed to start in his last race at Turf Paradise shows us how broken, at times, this system really is in providing for the health and well-being of the horse above all else. In hearing about his story, there is plenty of blame to go around on all sides of this. The ultimate result is always the same, though, and that is a horse unnecessarily being forced to lose his life for this sport because of the sheer ineptitude of the very people that are supposed to be entrusted to protect them.
I have heard all about the difficulties in being able to hire people and vets out at Turf Paradise. I do not know all the particulars of this, but (and I hate to have to say this) the basic fact is if you cannot provide the necessary means to ensure the health and welfare of the horses at your facility YOU DO NOT RACE!!!!
Therefore, I would call on the Arizona State Racing Commission to immediately suspend the license of Turf Paradise to conduct racing until such a time as they can prove they have the staffing and infrastructure in place to safely do so.
To the horsemen's groups, both Arizona and National, that have apparently stayed completely silent on this whole issue. What is it going to take before you back up your words about improving the integrity of the sport with proper actions? When will you actually police your own to help ensure that this type of scenario never happens again? What is it going to take to finally put the horse above all else to continue to allow your members to enjoy and prosper ethically and responsibly in this sport???
I would love nothing more than to kill it with the negativity. All I, and so many others, are waiting for is for the industry and its members to kill it with the excuses as to why it can't be better.
Bryan Langlois, DVM
Chair, Board of Directors, Animal Care PA
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Thorofan