Keith Dane, senior director of equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States released this statement in response to yet another tragedy within the horse racing industry after a horse had to be euthanized, Saturday, after the final leg of the Triple Crown:
"As the third race of the Triple Crown draws to a close, we are confronted with the devastating reality that yet another racehorse has died. In the final race at Belmont Park, Excursionniste was euthanized. It’s a devastating trifecta – three days of Triple Crown racing – and horse death at each of the tracks. As Belmont Park hosted the final Triple Crown race, another tragic loss: Excursionniste died in the final race of the day at only four years old. A poignant finale that reminds us that not all horses survive their races.
The stark reality is clear—the horses do not always survive the races they are entered in. Sport safety, welfare and ethics are evolving in all sports. A sport like horseracing, which makes athletes out of animals who are not guaranteed to live through their races, places itself at a precipice where meaningful, immediate and systemic change is direly needed.
Obstructionists have unsuccessfully attempted to halt Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act implementation and stymie the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's granted powers. Following the 12 horse deaths that occurred at Churchill Downs, the Authority used its statutory powers to step in and recommend the suspension of racing at the track. This marks a profound shift in prioritizing the safety and well-being of the animals at the heart of the industry. But it must continue.
To address widespread safety issues, it's crucial that the Authority is empowered to replicate similar preventative measures as circumstances demand. We urge the Authority and the rest of the industry to demonstrate a readiness to suspend races when horse safety and lives are on the line, and to establish meaningful penalties for horse deaths."