SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (NEWS10) – A total of eight horses have died at Saratoga Racetrack this year, with five fatalities in the past two weeks. The New York State Gaming Commission reports that the first three fatalities occurred at the start of the racing season, in June and July. Range War and Vindature died in training, while Supernova died of an inflammatory infection.
The other five died within a week, between August 6 and 11. Three of them, Credit Event, Plurality and Practice Squad, all dropped out during practice. Awesome Gerry and Salt Clay were pronounced dead after the races. Eight deaths midway through the track season, however, according to the state Equine Death and Breakdown databaseis average.
“The first 21 days of racing at the Summer Meet included 214 races with 1,682 horses. 99.9% of those horses competed safely and without incident,” the New York Racing Association (NYRA) said in “On the training side, 99.9% of the 4,152 timed workouts were completed safely and without incident,” a statement said.
The NYRA notes, however, that there is still work to be done. The circumstances surrounding each death so far this season are under active investigation by the New York State Gaming Commission and the New York State Equine Medical Director.
Midway through the year, Saratoga Racetrack signed a handful of $431 million, a 7.3% increase over 2021. Attendance on day 20 of the 40-day competition also had reached 512,683, a notable increase from 502,266 the previous year. .
Business at the track has bolstered Saratoga Springs’ economy, attracting racing enthusiasts to area hotels and restaurants. The Chamber of Commerce anticipates that more than $240 million will be injected into the local economy throughout the meeting.
Patrick Battuello, a horse advocate and member of the Horseracing Wrongs activist group, argues that money means more than horses to those on the trail. “Once again NYRA and the ‘Riders’ are proving that they value (sic) money over the welfare of horses,” Battuello noted.