Letter To The Industry: Iowa HBPA Response To HISA Town Hall Comment On PMRC Catastrophic Breakdowns

Unfortunately, as is typically the case with the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority (HISA) corporation, CEO Lisa Lazarus left out important details from her remarks during HISA's town hall meeting on March 11 regarding the toe grab rules in relating to horsemen and breakdowns at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino (PMRC). The following comment is quoted from the TDN article HISA Town Hall: Regulatory Reach, Environmental Contamination, Lab Variability and More Discussed: "Probably the racetrack that had the biggest complaints about this rule was Prairie Meadows, and they went from...

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Hayden Urges Racing Supporters to E-Mail 60 Minutes

Editor's note: After 60 Minutes aired a segment called "Horse Racing Reform?" on its Sunday night broadcast, Dark Hollow Farm's JoAnn Hayden posted a letter she had written to 60 Minutes on her Facebook page and urging friends and racing industry members to do the same. She writes: "I have always felt proud and grateful to be part of Maryland's thoroughbred racing community. Over the past 50+ years my circle of friends, employees, trainers, and colleagues have been exemplary humans who have provided the best care for my horses and...

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Drop the Crop: Letter to the Editor, by Dr. David Ranson

We have all been affected by the recent tragedies that have occurred in the racing industry. Whether reading of, heartbreakingly witnessing these horrors on national television, or while sitting with our friends at an event, we have all begun with breathless engagement in the grand spectacle of poetry in motion. We watch in admiration and awe as living, breathing works of art slice through the wind in full flight only to often sadly witness events that cannot be unseen; events that may haunt the recesses of our minds, creating fodder...

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Letter To The Editor: From A Young Fan

My first race was two years ago. The 2021 Haskell Invitational S., the summer before my senior year of college. It was the post parade that hooked me. When "Born to Run" sounded through the grandstand as Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon bounced onto the track, it didn't matter how the race would go. I was in. It was enough to latch onto despite the outrage I felt towards my home-state regulators for an ill-advised whip rule that took down Midnight Bourbon, along with my exacta box. But...

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`The World Awaits.' Letter to the Editor from Grant Pritchard-Gordon

Raceday fatalities create powerful news stories anywhere. Social Media has ensured that our world of racing is now a global community, with news and videos dispatched within minutes to knowledgeable audiences in countries far beyond the American shores. However, shock will have reverberated throughout  horse communities of many nations at the recent tragedies that have occurred on the racetracks at Saratoga and Churchill Downs. We all wait with bated breath to hear the steps that the major U.S. racecourses will take to remedy a very challenging moment for our sport,...

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With Woodbine Continuing To Compile Admirable Safety Numbers, Lawson Remains Big Fan Of Synthetic Surfaces

When it comes to breakdowns, the Tapeta surface at Woodbine isn't perfect. But it might be as close to perfect as any surface on the continent. While horses throughout North America broke down on the dirt at a rate of 1.44 per 1,000 starts in 2022, the rate of breakdowns over the synthetic surface at Woodbine was 0.42. This year, after about 4,500 starts over Tapeta there have been only two fatalities during races. Also, there have been about 14,000 published workouts over Woodbine's synthetic tracks and only two fatalities...

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`We're Not Going to Have to Worry About Tradition. We're Going to Be History.' Q and A With Mark Casse

Mark Casse may have made more starts over dirt and synthetic surfaces combined than any other trainer in history-over 5,000 starts on synthetic and 5,000 on dirt in the past 15 years alone. He estimates that he has sent horses out to gallop, breeze, or race over a synthetic surface 150,000 times in the past 10 years.  With a base at Woodbine, where they race and train over a Tapeta surface which sports one of the lowest instances of catastrophic injuries in North America, Casse offered to sit down with...

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After Meetings With Horsemen, Jockeys, and Vets, Saratoga to Continue With Racing Sunday

After the on-track deaths of two racehorses on its Saturday card prompted a series of meetings with interested parties, the racing card will continue as scheduled Sunday at Saratoga as planned, according to a release from NYRA's Vice President of Communications, Patrick McKenna. "Sunday's live racing program will proceed as scheduled following a series of productive meetings held with horsemen, jockeys, and veterinarians last night and throughout the morning," read an emailed statement. "Based on these conversations and ensuing dialogue, NYRA is confident in the safety and overall consistency of...

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Wisecraken Euthanized After Race Five At The Spa

During the Wednesday running of race five at Saratoga Race Course, a $50,000 starter allowance going nine furlongs over the turf, Wisecraken (McCraken) sustained a catastrophic injury to his right hind leg, Pat McKenna, NYRA's Vice President of Communications, said via email Wednesday afternoon. Despite the immediate response of on-site veterinarians, the horse was humanely euthanized due to the severity of the injury. The 3-year-old gelding owned by Ironhorse Racing Stable LLC was trained by Michelle Nevin and ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., who was uninjured.

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Letter to the Editor: Bill Casner

Editor's note: Bill Casner, a long-time participant in many facets of racing, is probably best known for founding WinStar Farm with Kenny Troutt and winning the 2010 GI Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. Among Casner's many roles in the sport have been founding director of the Race for Education and Kentucky Equine Education Program (KEEP). He has sold his interest in WinStar to Troutt and currently operates as Casner Racing. Horse racing is in a firestorm. We are at survival tipping point. The decisions that are made in the short...

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After Two Fatalities, Racing At Laurel Cancelled

The Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park, announced late Friday that racing at Laurel has been cancelled at least through this weekend. "The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) announced that after consultation with the Maryland Racing Commission, racing will be cancelled this weekend at Laurel Park while MJC works with the Maryland Racing Commission to understand and address any issues of concern raised relating to recent injuries," the statement read.  "MJC will also be discussing plans for implementation of updated safety and veterinary protocols similar to those that have been...

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GGF Fatalities Down Overall, but November Spike Concerns CHRB

Golden Gate Fields twice came within one vote Wednesday of having its upcoming December-June license to conduct racing either curtailed or not granted at all because of California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) concerns over a recent four-horse uptick in equine fatalities. The meet was eventually approved by a 4-3 vote, with CHRB chairman Gregory Ferraro, DVM, casting the deciding vote and pledging that he will be personally responsible for making sure Golden Gate executives understand that the "or else" consequences of not having a better safety record could mean the...

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