Speaking before the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission July 26, Tom Chuckas, the commission’s director of Thoroughbred horse racing, reported reduced equine fatalities since the commission initiated its Equine Safety and Welfare Plan in March.

He described a sharp second-quarter drop this year, outlined in data distributed by the PSHRC earlier this month, noting 17 fatalities from April 1-June 30, compared to 30 over the same period a year ago. Ten of those fatalities occurred at Parx Racing, five at Penn National, and two at Presque Isle Downs, according to a commission release.

As part of the plan, Chuckas said a third-party analysis of each racetrack was completed and found no issues with the surfaces. Additionally, he said, increased regulatory scrutiny has expanded a veterinarian’s list of horses ineligible to race due to unsoundness or repeat poor performance, the latter demonstrated by losing five consecutive races by 12 lengths or more.

“This commission is concerned about integrity, equine health and welfare, and safety, and have taken steps and will continue to take steps to address the issue,” Chuckas said. “But we can see improvement moving along.”

Also during the meeting, the commission heard a synopsis of a Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association report from marketing director Ashley Eisenbeil meant to assist the state’s industry in engaging different audiences. Among the targeted groups are Spanish-speaking customers, gamblers, families, and young adults in their 20s.

Original source credited to bloodhorse.com

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