Horse racing at Pimlico Race Course ended tragically with the death of two horses on the day of the Preakness Stakes. Homeboykris, a 9-year old gelding, collapsed and died due to cardiovascular collapse after he posed for pictures in the winner’s circle. Homeboykris has already won 14 races in 63 career starts. The horse has also won the first of those races as well.
After 3 races, a 4-year old horse Pramedya also fell to the ground during the final turn of the race. The front leg of Pramedya was fractured. So, she was euthanized on the track itself. Daniel Centeno, the jockey of Pramedya, also fractured his right clavicle due to the fall. He was taken to the hospital.
Safety of Racing Horses
The death of these two horses was the most disturbing aspect. Perhaps, horse racing is considered as the most glamorous sports than the other animal sports. Racing at the age of two years puts horses at the particular risks of injury because horses’ skeletal system at this age is still immature. So, they cannot withstand the physical stress and hard training from racing. Due to the lure of bigger stakes for the 2-year old races, many horse owners push their expensive animals in horse racing. During the training session, horses can be stabled at the most.
In fact, stabling is considered as the most practical way for providing high-performance training to the horses. The trainers house them near the training track, which reduces the time for daily transport. Horses may develop stereotypic behaviors and self-mutilation due to the lack of environmental and social encouragement. These are the strong symptoms of welfare problems of horses. During training season, they are fed with high concentrate diet instead of extended grazing. This will lead to gastric ulcers. According to a study at NSW (Randwick), 89 percent horses experienced stomach ulcers. Many of them experienced serious, bleeding ulcers within weeks after their training. Regardless of age, all horses may suffer painful muscular skeletal injuries in a competition. These injuries can be dislocated joints, torn tendons, and ligaments, and fractured bones.
The lungs and windpipe of horses bleed due to the exertion of races. This is known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, which was realized fully in recent researches. Jump races are more harmful and dangerous for horses. Usually, the jump races are much longer and jockeys are allowed to be heavier. If the horse is tired, the risk of falling is very high. Injuries that occur due to fall can be horrific.