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Protest calls for end to horse racing

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SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Outside the Saratoga Race Course Sunday, the group Horseracing Wrongs protested, calling for an end to the sport.

The group says it is concerned about the horses that die on tracks across the country each year, as well as about how horses are treated and about horse slaughter.

NYRA has an anti-slaughter policy, saying anyone involved will be banned for life.

Horseracing Wrongs members say they want to start a national discussion. Founder Patrick Battuello said, "We aren't interested in reform or compromise. We feel like this is 2018, enough already. Ringling Brothers is closed as I mentioned, Seaworld is in decline, greyhound racing is almost finished in this country, so there's no reason horse racing can't be next."

According to state data, two horses have died at Saratoga this season.

Pat McKenna, Director of Communications for NYRA, released the following statement:

"There is no issue more important to NYRA than the safety of our equine and human athletes. That is why NYRA has implemented extensive reforms and made significant investments since 2013 to improve track surface conditions, upgrade equipment, provide vets with more authority to monitor thoroughbred health, establish committees to oversee safety measures, and actively seek out advice and guidance from independent experts and scientists. We remain steadfast in seeking to continuously improve the safety of our racing operations and will never waver from this commitment.”

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