Casual observers of horse racing often think of the Kentucky Derby first and foremost. The mint juleps, the crazy hats, the fashion and the money all are part of what many call “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” The first jewel of the Triple Crown attracts viewers who might not watch another horse race the entire year.
There are plenty of hardcore fans, too. The most recent Harris Poll listed horse racing as the 13th-most popular sport among American adults — ranked ahead of women’s soccer.
There is a dark side to the industry, though, and the controversy surrounding the number of animals dying in the past few years has cast a negative light on the sport. Specifically, the number of fatalities at thoroughbred tracks in Santa Anita, Calif., and Calgary, Alberta, have dominated equine headlines this year.
Closer to home, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack has suffered a recent spate of deaths.
According to Equibase, one of the most comprehensive statistical websites in thoroughbred racing, Fabulous Prince died July 15 at Finger Lakes after suffering a fractured skull in the starting gate. The Equine Death & Breakdown from Open Data NY indicated that Fabulous Prince reared up in the starting gate and flipped backwards, and the resulting injury required euthanasia.
While considered an unusual accident, Fabulous Prince was the fourth horse to die at FLGRT in a six-day span. Beginning July 10, D Emcee, She’saKittyKat and Ransom Note were euthanized before Fabulous Prince’s accident.