MAISONS-LAFFITTE, France — There’s so much I could say about the crisis shaking horse racing in America, and as a racehorse trainer, I’ve been saying it for years.
Racehorses in the United States break down, which means they are catastrophically injured and then euthanized, at a rate double or triple that seen in the rest of the world. The spotlight is now on the Santa Anita track in California, where 22 horses have been killed since late December, but Del Mar, near San Diego, and Aqueduct in Queens have had similar spates of fatalities in recent years.
Every time a streak like this happens, it provokes much hand-wringing, outrage, calls for change, various committee meetings and pledges to do better and then, nothing. More of the same. Then another high-profile streak. And still nothing.
One thing is changing, though, and that is every time this happens, the calls to ban racing get louder and stronger. Animal rights activists, some of whom have never been within sniffing distance of a horse, are feeding on racing’s inability to right its wrongs. At the moment, they’re having a proper feast, with the Los Angeles district attorney investigating the Santa Anita deaths at the urging of racing foes.
American racing can pull itself from the cross hairs, but there needs to be a huge overall change, and fast. The major difference between American racing and the sport in the rest of the world, including here in France, is the excessive use of medications, practically from birth.
Breeders need to get the highest price possible for a yearling, so in addition to corrective surgery to fix defective legs, they use steroids to add bulk and sheen, and bisphosphonates to stabilize the bone structure. But these bisphosphonates also limit new bone growth, impairing the young horse’s ability to adapt to the stresses of training and racing.
Once the horse has fetched that high price, there is huge pressure on American trainers to get it racing as soon as possible to cover the costs of the purchase and training fees. That means the young racehorse is treated with endless rounds of so-called therapeutic medications: phenylbutazone, known as bute, to help with the aches and pain; clenbuterol to keep the lungs clear (plus there’s that added steroidlike side effect, which keeps them eating and keeps the weight on); and the diuretic Lasix every time before fast workouts and races, ostensibly to prevent bleeding in the lungs. There is little science that says Lasix actually does that job, but quite a lot of science identifying Lasix as a performance-enhancing drug.
American trainers and veterinarians instantly bristle at the accusation that horses are overmedicated. We’re helping them cope with the rigors of training, just like any other athlete, they say. It’s like you taking an aspirin, they say. Without Lasix, horses will drown in their own blood, and nobody wants that, right? Except that somehow, in the rest of the world, horses race medication-free. They’re not hobbling from pain or drowning in their own blood.
In defense of the medication proponents, they are merely adapting to a system of racing that isn’t particularly horse-friendly. Courses in the United States are generally quite small, uniformly oval and flat with a dirt surface that favors speed above all else. Horses are typically trained and raced on the same surface, and always in one direction: counterclockwise. Most races are over short distances, a mile or less. There is some racing on natural turf, but only when the ground is firm. Most tracks move turf races to the dirt if it rains.
In Europe, the bulk of racing is done on turf, regardless of whether it rains. Racecourses are laid out to be run clockwise, counterclockwise or in a straight line, often over rolling terrain. Any “dirt” racing is done on synthetic tracks, a blend of sand and fibers that is kinder to a horse’s legs than a dirt surface. There is a full program of racing at longer distances to balance out the sprint program. For the most part, horses are trained off-track, in training centers or on farms.
But the most important difference is this: Horses in Europe race medication-free. There is no tolerance for pharmaceuticals on race day, and horses in training are routinely tested out of competition. A horse with a problem can be treated, but the drugs must be out of its system before a race.
What could America do to end the medication culture and make life a little more natural for the horse? Belinda Stronach, the head of the company that owns Santa Anita, tried her best by declaring a ban on race-day medication and was immediately shot down by trainers. Generations of trainers in America have never trained without medication, and most of them firmly believe it would be inhumane and cruel to the horses to try. So when Santa Anita resumes races on Friday, it will largely be business as usual.
What, then, can be done to save racing in America? Clearly, ripping up most tracks to build varied, European-style courses isn’t going to happen. But there are some doable solutions that could make the sport safer for horses.
First, get rid of individual state authority over racing and get a national governing body that lays down the rules and does the drug testing across the country. A bill just introduced in Congress would be a first step toward nationwide governance for the sport.
Second, alternate directions for training horses so that they gallop both clockwise and counterclockwise. Consistent drilling of horses around a tight turn in the same direction is asking for trouble.
Third, add more races at longer distances to racing programs, decreasing the emphasis on all-out sprints.
Fourth, replace dirt surfaces with synthetics for racing, but keep a natural dirt surface available for training.
These four steps would set up an environment for the most important step of all to be possible: the elimination of all race-day medication, including Lasix.
If racing in America can’t take these steps and end strings of fatalities like the one at Santa Anita, the animal-rights activists will shut the sport down, ultimately condemning the horses they want to protect to, at best, a forced retirement. What they don’t realize is that without a job to do, the racehorse will become nothing more than a fantasy character in children’s books.
Gina Rarick (@ginararick) trains racehorses.
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【看】【着】【眼】【前】【浩】【瀚】【巍】【峨】【的】【仙】【宫】，【苏】【世】【不】【由】【得】【感】【叹】【了】【一】【下】【苏】【古】【的】【大】【手】【笔】。 【这】【等】【财】【力】，【不】【愧】【为】【天】【帝】。【不】【过】，【苏】【世】【心】【里】【始】【终】【有】【点】【疑】【问】。【现】【在】【的】【苏】【古】【和】【苏】【氏】【古】【族】【究】【竟】【是】【怎】【样】【的】【关】【系】，【九】【州】【和】【天】【庭】【的】【关】【系】【亦】【或】【者】【如】【何】。 【不】【过】，【这】【些】【他】【都】【不】【在】【意】【了】。【毕】【竟】，【这】【里】【只】【是】【他】【斩】【断】【过】【去】【的】【一】【个】【节】【点】【而】【已】。【从】【今】【开】【始】，【他】【就】【是】【苏】【世】，【不】【再】【是】2017年57期开奖号码【如】【果】【要】【说】【没】【有】【失】【落】【感】，【那】【是】【不】【可】【能】【的】。 【她】【心】【里】【也】【清】【楚】，【宋】【筝】【焉】【的】【事】，【权】【淮】【琛】【没】【有】【办】【法】【不】【予】【理】【睬】，【一】【来】【宋】【筝】【焉】【这】【事】【多】【多】【少】【少】【和】【权】【淮】【琛】【有】【着】【关】【系】，【二】【来】【宋】【家】【和】【权】【家】【算】【是】【世】【交】【关】【系】，【于】【情】【于】【理】，【都】【没】【有】【办】【法】【不】【管】。 “【赵】【南】【意】，【你】【要】【调】【节】【好】【自】【己】【的】【心】【情】【和】【状】【态】，【今】【天】【是】【你】【第】【一】【天】【上】【班】，【实】【习】【公】【司】【又】【是】【业】【界】【赫】【赫】【有】【名】【的】，【你】
【由】【于】【孙】【姚】【的】【请】【求】，【柳】【堃】【撤】【去】【了】【七】【绝】【阵】，【谁】【知】【大】【阵】【消】【失】【的】【刹】【那】，【恢】【复】【清】【明】【后】【的】【邱】【道】【子】【立】【刻】【喊】【到】：“【判】【官】【救】【我】！” 【话】【音】【刚】【落】。 【浑】【浊】【的】【空】【气】【中】【突】【然】【出】【现】【了】【一】【个】【紫】【色】【的】【漩】【涡】，【漩】【涡】【中】【邱】【道】【子】【瞬】【间】【吞】【没】，【身】【形】【一】【下】【子】【消】【失】【不】【见】【了】。 【这】【个】【场】【景】【让】【柳】【堃】【皱】【紧】【了】【眉】【头】，【抬】【手】【打】【出】【一】【片】【暗】【影】，【将】【碎】【玉】【身】【旁】【出】【现】【的】【漩】【涡】【击】【碎】。
【这】【可】【就】【是】【太】【糟】【心】【了】！ 【更】【糟】【心】【的】【是】，【随】【后】【它】【发】【现】，【所】【有】【的】【红】【尘】【蝎】【仿】【佛】【都】【在】【这】【一】【刻】，【不】【约】【而】【同】【地】【丧】【失】【了】【与】【生】【俱】【来】【的】【认】【路】【天】【赋】，【作】【为】【一】【只】【睿】【智】【的】【红】【尘】【蝎】【王】，【它】【迅】【速】【安】【抚】【了】【子】【孙】【后】【代】【们】【躁】【动】【的】【情】【绪】。 【而】【一】【番】【斟】【酌】【后】，【它】【坚】【信】【问】【题】【可】【能】【出】【在】【陆】【云】【遥】【和】【木】【七】【七】【身】【上】。 【毕】【竟】，【它】【们】【为】【了】【避】【开】【无】【妄】【之】【灾】【都】【特】【意】【搬】【迁】【到】【荒】【无】【人】【烟】
【到】【了】【黑】【城】，【丰】【臣】【靖】【彦】【和】【徐】【涉】【把】【关】【南】【双】【送】【了】【回】【去】，【这】【两】【个】【人】【这】【才】【去】【了】【清】【凉】【花】【园】。 【卫】【羡】【宁】【在】【门】【口】【等】【着】【徐】【涉】，【她】【看】【着】【她】【牵】【着】【丰】【臣】【靖】【彦】【的】【手】【往】【这】【边】【来】，【她】【舒】【出】【了】【一】【口】【长】【气】：“【怎】【么】【才】【回】【来】？【晚】【了】【半】【个】【小】【时】？” “【这】【不】【是】【先】【要】【送】【关】【南】【双】【回】【家】【嘛】。”【徐】【涉】【笑】【笑】。 【卫】【羡】【宁】【转】【了】【身】【和】【徐】【涉】【并】【排】【走】，【她】【靠】【近】【了】【她】【小】【声】【道】：“【龙】【兴】