Track Tragedy at Pimlico

Racing news

Pimlico Horse Deaths Remind Many of Race Track Tragedies

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) spoke out on Saturday following the deaths of Homeboykris and Pramedya at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD. Kathy Guillermo, vice president of PETA, issued a statement calling for the release of vet records and medications from two weeks leading into Saturday’s races.

“In today’s racing drug culture, at least three horses are dying every day on U.S. tracks. The foolish use of muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medications must end now.”

According to the Equine Injury Database compiled by The Jockey Club, a total of 4,649 thoroughbred race horses died in track-related incidents from 2009 to 2015: A rate of 1.87 for every 1,000 starts.

Pramedya was owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stable, who had previously owned Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby champion who was injured 10 years ago at the Preakness and eventually had to be euthanized. The Jackson’s helped found the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA), a grassroots organization supporting passage of USADA laws prohibiting use of race day medications.

PETA continues their pursuit and awareness of animal cruelty, and notes that 10,0000 thoroughbred race horses are sent to slaughter each year.

Congress became more involved in the horse racing industry in 2008 following the horrific incident in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, where a filly named Eight Belles had to be euthanized on the track. One of the new policies instilled was a ban on many anabolic steroids. Eight Belles is one of the saddest horse racing tragedies in the sport.

The horse racing industry will always be linked to drugs and money. The smell of green is what draws many racing fans to the sport. And it’s not the green of pastures. There is the gambling addiction factor. This isn’t limited to just placing bets on a race. All of horse racing is a gamble, and a very costly one.

Hopefully the losses of Ruffian, Barbaro and now Homeboykris and Pramedya is not the lasting image of horse racing’s legacy.

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