PETA Calls for Saratoga’s Closure as Shocking Horse Injury Takes Death Toll to 14

  • New York Thunder and Nobel both died at Saratoga on Saturday
  • PETA has called for the track to be shut down immediately
  • Celebrations of Arcangelo’s win were overshadowed by the deaths
  • HISA supposedly launched a probe after Maple Leaf Mel’s fall
Saratoga race course
Similar to Maple Leaf Mel’s horrific injury but even more shocking, the death of New York Thunder at Saratoga race course places intense pressure on the US horse racing industry. [Image:]

Industry under scrutiny

A swathe of what officials are calling inexplicable horse deaths has swept the US horse racing industry since May, placing the sector under severe scrutiny. This worsened over the weekend when New York Thunder suffered a shocking fatal fracture of the left front fetlock at New York’s Saratoga Race Course.

shut it down now”

On Sunday, calls for officials to “shut it down now” came from US animal rights giant PETA. The body shared a video via X of New York Thunder’s nightmare injury on the Saratoga course:

Officials euthanized the previously undefeated three-year-old on track, adding more tragedy to a day of racing that had already resulted in the death of Nobel in a separate race. As a result, the death toll since the Saratoga meet started on July 13 has risen to 14. There are two weeks left of the racing season.

A pall over celebrations

The $1.25m Travers Stakes, which took place on Saturday, was an opportunity for Saratoga Springs to host the racing community for what’s unofficially known as the NY city’s Midsummer Derby.

still in shock at what they saw earlier”

Despite the celebration in the winner’s circle for Travers Stakes victor Arcangelo and his trailblazing trainer Jena Antonucci, the LA Times reported that people at Saratoga Race Course were “still in shock at what they saw earlier.”

Thunder’s injury evoked memories of Maple Leaf Mel’s fall just three weeks ago while over a length ahead and mere yards from the finish line. The three-year-old grey filly was euthanized.

Saratoga isn’t the only course that has seen a recent spate of deaths. Racing is due to resume at Churchill Downs in Kentucky next month following an investigation into multiple horse deaths. 12 horses died in just one month at the track in the build-up to the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

HISA gets involved

Not only are animal rights activists like PETA attacking the New York Racing Association-owned Saratoga race course, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has also started a probe into the track. Following public outcry over Mel, HISA started its probe into Saratoga on August 7.  

up to the track to investigate.”

According to the Times, however, a day later, a HISA spokesperson gave conflicting responses to the publication’s questions about the Mel probe. The spokesperson made no mention of the HISA investigation into the horse’s death, while also stating “it was up to the track to investigate.”

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