The New Mexico track race ensures the health status of the horses

The New Mexico track race ensures the health status of the horses

New Mexico regulators said Monday that several horses feared dead by animal advocates after weekend racing on one of the state’s premier horse tracks are alive and well.

Officials with the New Mexico Racing Commission say only one animal died after being injured during a recent trial in Ruidoso Downs, and photographs and veterinary reports submitted to the state show that the remaining seven were in their stalls and were fine.

The Washington, D.C.-based group Animal Wellness Action expressed concern about horse welfare.

“Apparently it was so brutally hot that the horses had to go back to the stables after running, which certainly meant to us that they shouldn’t have run in the first place,” said Marty Irby, executive director of the lobbying group.

Irby has leveled his criticism that the new federal safety order came into effect this month and that the industry is preparing to adopt more uniform anti-doping regulations as it pressures lawyers to be more vigilant with track owners and regulators across the country.

Irby was among those who testified before Congress in support of the Horse Integrity and Safety Act, which was signed into law in 2020. It is being implemented step by step with the start of the rastrack protection program first. Anti-doping and drug regulations are expected in early 2023, leaving 38 states where racing is now in charge.

The lack of uniform rules of sport across the United States came to the fore after the 2021 Kentucky Derby after the Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance.

California, New Mexico and other states have also received black eyes over the years for catastrophic injuries among race horses.

A 2012 investigation found that five of the seven tracks, including the country’s highest accident rate, were in New Mexico and four of the five tracks in the state had double the national average. Although five tracks have seen their mortality rates drop in recent years, legal analysts have found that between 2018 and 2020, 112 horses died as a result of race-related injuries.

There were 13 catastrophic injuries in 2021, according to records provided by the New Mexico Racing Commission.

Ismail “Easy” Trejo, executive director of the commission, said the starting rate per 1,000 races was lower than the national average and there were no complaints from jockeys or horse owners about the status of the Ruidoso Downs.

The track began its season in late May and is preparing for the Rainbow Future later this month. It is best known for its hosting, described as the richest quarterback in the world – the All American Future.

“Of course losing a horse among the 330 starters this weekend is never a good thing,” Trejo said. “But if there was a way to ban horses from experiencing catastrophic injuries on the racetrack, we would be the first – as long as I’m in this chair – to implement it.”

Trejo and others said one obstacle to enforcing anti-doping rules and other regulations would be the lack of licensed veterinarians across the country.

Irby added that it would also be important to ensure the consent of the state racing authorities.

“I’m sure the Horseing Integrity and Safety Act is the last chance for the American horse racing industry to clean up their work and restore legitimacy to the sport, as well as build confidence in the betting public, but there are already many groups and individuals working to weaken the law at every turn.” ”He said.

Ethan Linder, general manager of Ruidoso Downs, said he spent the morning in the track barn, examining the horses on Irby’s list. He wanted everyone to put their hands up, talk to each trainer, and confirm status before reporting to state regulators.

Linder said it was too early to predict as the racing law would take effect, but he expected some pressure from staff. He added that many of the things said by law are already in the Ruidoso Downs.

“Our job is to comply and when we do that and if something happens we will let everyone know that we have not cut any corners in any way,” he said. “We are following the rules of a T and this is the best we can do.”

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