In the wake of the 26th dead racehorse (since Christmas) at Santa Anita yesterday (two broken legs), and faced with an unprecedented media-fueled national outrage, the track’s owner, The Stronach Group, announced, among other things, an immediate ban on raceday drugs. Complicating things, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, immediately praised the action – thereby helping this vile industry recover from its current PR disaster. A strange, sordid state of affairs, indeed.
On the move itself, the primary target, Lasix, has long been controversial within racing ranks. Some consider it a simple performance-enhancer (the diuretic causes horses to shed water weight; lighter equals faster), while others say it’s necessary to control the pulmonary bleeding that as a matter of course is caused by forcing horses to run very fast. (Really, I’m not making this up.) In any event, file this in the “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” category. The weather? The track surface? Congestion during training? Now, Lasix? C’mon, folks, wise up.
Horseracing – because (for speed) it breeds animals with big bodies but spindly legs and fragile ankles; because it trains and races them long before their bones are done growing, plates done fusing; because it compels them to run at a decidedly unnatural pace; and because it commodifies them – is inherently deadly. In other words, there’s no fixing this. It must end. Full stop.
Please call Governor Newsom’s office directly. No more PETA-style equivocating. Demand (respectfully, of course) an end – a final, irrevocable end – to this madness: 916-445-2841 or email