NYRA confident racing surfaces are safe

NYRA says racing surfaces are safe after two more horses died at the Saratoga Race Course this weekend.

NYRA decided to go forward with racing on Sunday after a series of meetings with horsemen, jockeys and veterinarians. NYRA says it’s confident in the safety and consistency of the racing surfaces at the venue.

Seven horses have suffered catastrophic injuries during racing this meet. Another died suddenly during a race due to a cardiovascular event. And four horses have sustained fatal injuries during morning training.

NYRA says more than 99% of horses who have raced or trained, have finished safely.

This week, NYRA plans to take new steps to improve safety – including requirements for more health checks on horses before races and workouts.

There have been calls to suspend racing at Saratoga this summer.

PETA has been an outspoken opponent of the track.

Pat McKenna with NYRA released this statement:

“Sunday’s live racing program proceeded as scheduled following a series of productive meetings held with horsemen, jockeys, and veterinarians throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning. Based on these conversations and ensuing dialogue, NYRA is confident in the safety and overall consistency of the racing surfaces. Jockeys and trainers have universally expressed support for the safety of the facilities at Saratoga Race Course.

“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 and will continue to with HISA’s Track Surface Advisory Group to further ensure the racing surfaces are consistent throughout.

“While these types of injuries are always concerning, NYRA has made meaningful and sustained progress reducing the frequency of serious injuries over the last ten years and will only expand these efforts moving forward.”

NYRA also released this information:

  • Seven horses have sustained catastrophic injuries during racing at the 2023 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course.
  • In addition, one horse (Burning Bright) died suddenly during the running of a race due to a major cardiovascular event.
  • Saratoga opened for training on April 15. To date, 8,693 horses have participated in a high speed, timed workout.
  • Four horses have sustained fatal injuries during morning training. 
  • Two horses have died from causes not related to training or racing in 2023.