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Posted: 9:08 p.m. Friday, June 8, 2012
By Scott MacFarlane
The horse many hoped could be the first Triple Crown winner in more than 30 years will not run in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
I’ll Have Another is going to retire. The horse has an injury to his left front tendon, so his trainer scratched him from the race.
Only 11 horses have ever won the Triple Crown. The last winner was affirmed in 1978.
With the Belmont set for Saturday, a shadow is growing over horse racing because of reports of horse abuse and doping.
Now, Congress is considering a new set of laws to stop the abuse.
While horse trainers wait on Congress to act, other people are stepping in to help.
Elizabeth Winters, a horse farmer, is now taking in dozens of rescue cases.
“They have to be able to graze,” she said.
As the economy soured, Winters said many horse owners bailed, abandoning or neglecting the expensive animals.
“It really is heartbreaking to see animals come to us like that,” Winters said.
The thing is, neglect cases are not the only problem in the horsing industry. There are also currently concerns that too many people are pushing the animals too hard.
A new U.S. Senate report says there is “an alarming level of exploitation of horses in the racing industry.”
“There are some serious violations going on. There’s doping of horses, pushing horses too hard, and we’re having lots of injuries,” said Colorado Sen. Mark Udall.
Horse doping laws are inconsistent and vary by state.
And according to a New York Times report, 24 horses die at U.S. tracks each week.
The Senator is proposing federal oversight of the industry, a ban on performance-enhancing drugs, and new rules to toss out cheaters.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association did not return requests for comment on Udall’s proposal.
However, in recent published reports, the body said the industry itself is cracking down on bad actors and must continue to do so.
That means, on horse racing’s biggest weekend, there is now a dispute over how well America’s horses are protected off the track.
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