CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (AP) – The death of three thoroughbreds at Hollywood Casino in the Charles Town Races caught the attention of an animal rights group.
The horses died within 10 days, including consecutive nights, the past week, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel report. Venetian Drive and Don’tmesswithbull were both fatally injured, according to Equibase. Best Shot “chased the pace inward and raced through the corner on the railing, then showed no reaction to the urging of the drivers.” All three horses were euthanized.
“The ongoing horse deaths in Charles Town are inhuman and incomprehensible, and 2021 seems no different from previous years,” said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action in Washington, DC. “As vets continue to inject performance-enhancing cocktails into horses, body counts continue to rise on one of the most dangerous routes in America.”
Erich Zimny, Vice President of Racing Operations for Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, said the track takes horse safety seriously.
“Over the past few years, our racing fatality rate has improved every year, and the death rate we saw in 2020 would have been lower than the annual national average of six of the last 10 years that a national number has been reported. ” Said Zimny. “That won’t happen if we don’t take promoting a safe environment seriously.”
The route is three quarters of a mile long and hosts more than 200 races each year.
Irby believes the passage of the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act on December 27th could help protect horses. It bans horse drug use on race days and creates a national standard for drug testing and enforcement to be monitored by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The law must come into force on July 1, 2022 at the latest.
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