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Horse Racing Needs a Safety-First Self-Examination

A safety-first self-examination is the only way forward for horse racing. The juxtapositions have been dramatic. On television from England for five glorious days in June was Royal Ascot, one of the greatest traditions in all of racing. It was the very best our sport has to offer: enormous fields of top-class thoroughbreds trained by legendary horsemen and ridden by world-famous jockeys. No horses sustained fatal injuries or suffered heart attacks. There were no debates over race-day medication or accusations of horses running on pain killers or performance-enhancing drugs. The racing was safe and the competition genuine and honest. Back home in North America, Royal Ascot was bookended by a seemingly endless assault of depressing news from the alarming number of racing and training fatalities at Santa Anita Park in Southern California. Local media in Los Angeles seized on the issue in March and it quickly became a national story…

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