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NYRA taking additional action after 17th death at track

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SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Seventeen horses have now died this year at Saratoga, the most recent on Saturday when Travelin' Solider was euthanized after an injury while breezing.

Seventeen is the highest number since records were kept in 2009.

NYRA says additional actions are being immediately implemented.

NYRA says of the horses that have died this year, eight happened as a result of racing, eight during training and another non-sport related.

All are still under investigation.

Trainer and President of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Rick Violette says there is no reassuring answer, but that they will keep working to find ways to intervene and keep these horses safe.

"Everybody has to be on high alert, and if there is anything that is slipping through, we need to stop it," said Violette.

Violette says the horses are precious to them.

"They are not expendable; they're not just livestock that we cavalierly cast away," said Violette.

NYRA says action includes state-of-the-art monitoring of horses, trainer education, as well as an added veterinarian on staff.

New York State Equine Medical Director Scott Palmer says every time a horse dies, they do a complete investigation of the circumstances

"Things like horse-specific risk factors, condition of the race track, we interview the jockeys, we interview the trainer," said Dr. Palmer.

He says they look for missed opportunities for intervention. If a horse is hurt, he says there are terrific advances in fixing fractures -- but they can't always save them.

"There are a few select fractures that are so devastating to the anatomy that we can't fix them," said Dr. Palmer.

Those who oppose horse racing say the only solution is to end it.

Patrick Battuello leads HorseRacing Wrongs.

"We believe that there is nothing they can do to fix it. We believe that killing is inherent to what they do," said Battuello.

His group plans to protest Travers Saturday, then take its message national.

A NYRA spokesman also said the number of horses that died as a result of racing-related injuries has gone down 50 percent since 2012. He says in 2013 new safety precautions were put in place. He also says NYRA’s average is below the national average for this so-called catastrophic injury rate.

Statistics from the Gaming Commission:

2017 Saratoga Race Course Statistics

Training Fatalities: Since the beginning of the year: these are equine deaths due to injuries sustained while training or "breezing" on the main track/turf or Oklahoma track:

Lakalas (5/28/17): Collapsed and died after breezing - possible cardiovascular collapse - investigation continues

Queen B (7/6/17): Fracture of the right rear leg while breezing and was ambulanced to nearby Rood & Riddle equine hospital. Due to the severity of the injury, the horse was euthanized at Rood & Riddle (not at the track). - investigation continues

Wanztbwicked (7/22/17): Rupture of right front suspensory while breezing and was euthanized on the track. - investigation continues

Positive Waves (7/29/17): Fracture to right front leg while breezing and was euthanized on the track. - investigation continues

Howard Beach (7/29/17): Ran loose while breezing and fractured right front leg and was euthanized on the track. - investigation continues

Marshall Plan (8/2/17): Fractured condylar bone while training-walked off track to barn before injury extent realized-subsequently euthanized atRood & Riddle-investigation continues

Lakeside Sunset (8/5/17): Pulled up, rider off; vanned off - fracture right hind leg – euthanized in backstretch-investigation continues

Travelin Solider (8/19/17): -Sustained injury while breezing, returned to barn lame; Xrays revealed fracture to right rear leg – euthanized-investigation continues

Racing Fatalities: Since the opening of the Saratoga Race meet (7/21/17), these are equine deaths that occur on the track during a race or at a later date due to an injury sustained during that race. :

Angels Seven (7/28/17): Horse was pulled up due to a fracture of left front leg and was euthanized on the track. - investigation continues

Brooklyn Major (7/31/17: Collapsed and died after race – possible cardiovascular collapse - investigation continues. - investigation continues

Fall Colors (8/3/17): STEEPLECHASE HORSE - Horse fell at second fence & died on track, investigation continues. - investigation continues

Munjaz (8/3/17): Pulled up going into the first turn and vanned off- later euthanized-Investigation to follow. - investigation continues

Unbroken Chain (8/6/17): Tumbled and unseated his rider at 5/16 pole. Unbroken Chain suffered a fatal Musculoskeletal injury and was euthanized - investigation continues

Sweetneida (8/11/17): Took a bad step and vanned off, later euthanized – investigation continues

Meteoroid (8/16/17): STEEPLECHASE HORSE – Injured right front leg at stretch prior to 6th fence, subsequently euthanized on track. Investigation continues.

Sayonara Rose (8/17/17): sustained fracture to left-front leg-euthanized on track-investigation continues

Non-Racing Fatality: Any fatality that occurs on the grounds (other than the main or training track); (e.g. suffers a cardiovascular event or dies suddenly in its stall, sustains an injury while loading onto or off of a horse trailer necessitating humane euthanasia, etc.) since the beginning of the year.

Duquesne Whistle (8/7/17): euthanized for Abdomen Colic. - investigation continues

Year over Year Comparison for Saratoga Race Course

2017:

8 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course from 1/1/17-8/21/17.

8 racing fatalities during the Saratoga meet (as of 8/21/17)

1 non-racing fatality at Saratoga Race Course from 1/1/17-8/21/17.

There have been a total of 17 horses that have died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2017 thus far.

2016:

8 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2016

6 racing fatalities during the 2016 Saratoga meet.

2 non-racing fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2016.

There were a total of 16 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2016.

2015: .

8 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2015

3 racing fatalities during the 2015 Saratoga meet.

2 non-racing fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2015.

There were a total of 13 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2015.

2014:

6 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2014

8 racing fatalities during the 2014 Saratoga meet.

0 non-racing fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2014.

There were a total of 14 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2014.

2013:

5 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2013

5 racing fatalities during the 2013 Saratoga meet.

0 non-racing fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2013.

There were a total of 10 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2013.

2012:

8 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2012.

5 racing fatalities during the 2012 Saratoga meet.

0 non-racing fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2012.

There were a total of 13 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2012.

2011:

4 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2011.

4 racing fatalities during the 2011 Saratoga meet.

1 non-racing fatality at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2011.

There were a total of 9 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2011.

2010:

6 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2010.

6 racing fatalities during the 2010 Saratoga meet.

3 non-racing fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2010.

There were a total of 15 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2010.

2009:

2 training fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2009.

3 racing fatalities during the 2009 Saratoga meet.

5 non-racing fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in all of 2009.

There were a total of 10 horses that died on the grounds of Saratoga Race Course in 2009.

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