Keith Dane, senior director of equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States released the following statement regarding tomorrow’s Triple Crown at Belmont in New York: 

“As we head into the final leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont in New York, we reflect on the string of horse deaths and doping scandals that sullied this racing circuit. The staggering death count reminds of this grim reality: horses do not always survive the races they are entered in. Practices and conditions that fail to prioritize horse safety and reckless drug and medication use have created a deadly environment for racehorses, and potentially the entire racing industry. Without a genuine commitment to reform that puts the safety and well-being of the horses at the center of the sport, racing may be in its final days.  

Fortunately, leadership and reform are being provided by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. Born from the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, this Authority swiftly made strides with its bold guidance to Churchill Downs to suspend racing due to safety concerns. This action should serve as a clear message to opposition groups such as the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. It’s high time to put legal disputes aside and prioritize horse safety instead.  

The cloud hanging over horse racing today is not just metaphorical—smoke from Canadian wildfires causing severe air quality issues adds a new layer of concern at Belmont Park. We call on the industry to do the right thing for the horses and rise above the minimum standards to ensure horse safety and well-being are paramount.  

The race for reform has not been won yet. Now is the time to set the example for others to follow, placing horse safety above all. The survival of the industry is dependent on the survival of the horses themselves.” 

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