Saratoga racing surfaces being examined after another horse death in Grade I race

Another horse death in one of Saturday’s marquee Grade I races has prompted NYRA to examine the racing surfaces at Saratoga Race Course. New York Thunder suffered a catastrophic injury to his left front leg in the stretch run of the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes and had to be humanely euthanized on the track due to the severity of the injury. Jockey Tyler Gafflione was uninjured in the accident.

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After the race NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said, “NYRA is continuing to investigate these catastrophic injuries with HISA officials, the New York State Gaming Commission, and the New York State Equine Medical Director. We will immediately consult with HISA’s Track Surface Advisory Group to further examine the overall condition of all three racing surfaces at Saratoga prior to Sunday’s program. In addition, NYRA will convene a group of relevant outside experts to evaluate our current safety protocols and procedures.

While NYRA has made meaningful and sustained progress reducing the frequency of serious injuries over the last ten years, there is always more work to be done to build upon that progress now and in the future.”

Earlier on Saturday, a horse died during a Turf race at the track.

On Whitney day, Maple Leaf Mel died while on her way to victory in the Grade 1 Test. The horse broke down near the wire.

There have been calls to suspend the meet at Saratoga this summer.

NYRA says seven horses have sustained catastrophic injuries during racing at the 2023 summer meet at the Saratoga Race Course, which opened on July 13th and has featured 2,461 horses starting in 324 races.