NewsCovering Kentucky


Track expert seeks to curb horse racing deaths

Posted at 7:47 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 07:47:55-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) — Experts are digging into the dirt -- literally - at horse racing tracks nationwide in an effort find a solution the spate of fatal injuries to Thoroughbreds.

WAVE reports that a leading expert says consistency of the track surface might be the key.

“What we need to make sure is that when you go to the races or you watch the races on TV, you're confident you're not going to see a horse get hurt or a rider get hurt,” said Michael “Mick” Peterson, director of the University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs. “And we’re not there yet.”

Peterson investigated the 2019 fatalities at California's Santa Anita, where 49 horses died in 12 months of racing. He investigated at Churchill Downs in 2018 after four horses died.

“We want when the horse steps from this part of the track to this part of the track to this part of the track, to have an identical surface,” Peterson said. “You've probably heard way too many times the horse took a bad step. That's what we want to eliminate right here.”

The Jockey Club in Lexington announced Tuesday it was investing more than $750,000 in new equipment developed at Peterson’s lab to test tracks across the country.