Like many of you, I have heard and read lots of opinions in the wake of the events surrounding the very disappointing performance by Life At Ten in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.
Understandably, the owner is upset that Life At Ten was allowed to start. Bettors are mad that she was not scratched by the stewards. This situation presents a perfect storm of controversy for horse racing because it raises questions about two primary concerns consistently expressed by our fans and critics alike– the safety of our horses and the integrity of our game. And as this incident so clearly demonstrates, safety and integrity are inextricably linked.
The Breeders’ Cup is exactly right to announce as they did last week that they will await the final report of the Kentucky Racing Commission before reaching any conclusions as to what steps to take in the future regarding the management and protocols of their Championships. The NTRA’s Safety and Integrity Alliance is also watching this situation carefully. You can rest assured that like the Breeders’ Cup, the Alliance will carefully analyze the facts of this situation to determine whether pre-race inspection rules need to be altered or improved to minimize the chance of an event like this occurring in the future. Ultimately, that could be the most positive development from an otherwise negative moment for our sport. I will have more to say on this issue once the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission investigation is completed, and we know all of the facts.