“What more can be done to protect the horses?”
That's the question Joe Gorajec asks in his latest article at InsideRacingRegs, published by Horse Racing Reform, an industry initiative of The Jockey and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The article is a follow-up to his reporting on the hearing in California of trainer Michael Pender, who was suspended 30 days for breezing the horse New Karma and then entering him to race after being told by his veterinarian that radiographs indicated a sesamoid fracture.
New Karma was scratched from the Golden Gate Fields race in which he was entered after the California Horse Racing Board was notified of the horse's condition by the veterinary practice that took the radiographs.
“Much has been done by regulators to prevent catastrophic injuries,” writes Gorajec, former longtime executive director with the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. He cites pre-race examinations as one safeguard and the recent addition in California of a screening panel that looks at the medical, training and racing history of horses before giving them the OK to run.
But, writes Gorajec, “Even more can be done.”
Gorajec suggests one important proposal, the reporting of all injuries into an electronic database, was included in The Jockey Club's white paper earlier this year, Vision 2025 To Prosper, Horse Racing Needs Comprehensive Reform.
“Horses that are injured are subject to immediate placement on the veterinarians' list with criteria for removal that may include diagnostic imaging, veterinary examination, and counsel with attending veterinarians,” the report states. “Fatally injured horses must be necropsied and drug tested with results recorded in the EID.”
“Mandatory injury reporting would be a game changer in many ways,” Gorajec writes, most importantly placing a regulatory responsibility on the practicing veterinarian.
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