SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In total, eight horses have passed away at the Saratoga Race Course this year, with five deaths in the past two weeks. The New York State Gaming Commission reports the first three deaths came during the early racing season, in June and July. Range War and Vindatude died in training, while Supernova died from an inflammatory infection.
The other five passed away in one week, between Aug. 6-11. Three of them, Credit Event, Plurality, and Practice Squad, all dropped during training. Awesome Gerry and Salt Clay were reported dead after races. Eight deaths at the halfway point of track season, though, according to the state Equine Death and Breakdown database, is average.
“The first 21 days of racing at the summer meet has included 214 races featuring 1,682 horses. 99.9% of those horses competed safely and without incident,” said the New York Racing Association (NYRA) in a statement. “On the training side, 99.9% of 4152 timed workouts were completed safely and without incident.”
The NYRA does note, however, that there is more work to be done. The circumstances around each death already recorded this season are being actively investigated by the New York State Gaming Commission and New York State Equine Medical Director.
At the halfway point of the year, the Saratoga Race Course inked a handle of $431 million, a 7.3% increase from 2021. Attendance on day 20 of the 40-day meet had reached 512,683 as well, a notable increase from 502,266 the year before.
Business at the track has bolstered the Saratoga Springs economy, bringing racing enthusiasts into area hotels and eateries. The Chamber of Commerce anticipates over $240 million will be pumped into the local economy throughout the meet.
Patrick Battuello, a horse advocate and member of the activist group “Horseracing Wrongs,” argues that the money means more than the horses to those at the track. “Again NYRA and the ‘horsemen’ prove they value (sic) money over the welfare of the horses,” noted Battuello.