Arlington Catastrophic Injury Rate Draws Criticism, Concern

Although many causes have been suggested, there's still no definitive reason for the recent slew of catastrophic injuries in Thoroughbreds at Arlington Park racetrack in Arlington Heights, Ill., reported the Chicago Tribune on July 4.

 

The paper noted that 17 horses had fatal injuries since the meet opened May 5. In comparison, last year 12 horses had injuries requiring euthanasia at Arlington during the entire four-month meet.

 

Arlington halted training last week to examine the track at the turn for home, where all the injuries have occurred, the Tribune reported. The top layer of dirt was removed and the base examined by an outside consultant. Track supervisor Javier Barajas told the paper "the layer was perfect."

 

Others have suggested that horses at Arlington have been overworked because of a shortage of horses to fill race cards.

 

Arlington President Roy Arnold told the Tribune, "It's clear that relative to the size of the Thoroughbred population in Illinois, we're racing too much. I think that needs to be looked at going into next season, whether that's racing fewer days or whether it's adjusting when the meets are held."

 

Some sources for the paper suggested that problems lie with modern Thoroughbred breeding, emphasizing speed over long-term soundness. Owners and trainers have also come under fire, being accused of running unsound horses.

 

Read the Chicago Tribune's latest Arlington coverage here.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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