People in the Thoroughbred racing industry woke up on Sunday morning
to find their sport under siege. The New York Times published a photo on
Page 1 that depicted a horse dead on the track; it accompanied a
lengthy investigative report blaming “drugs and lax oversight” for a
high rate of fatal breakdowns.
On the same day, the Los Angeles Times covered the same topic,
detailing the death toll at Santa Anita this winter. These two news
reports came only a week after the abrupt cancellation of HBO’s “Luck,”
when a third horse died during the filming of the TV series.
Deaths of racehorses are always shocking and they have always been an
inescapable part of the game. Unlike human athletes who suffer serious
injuries and can be rehabilitated, horses usually have to be euthanized.