Thoroughbred mare Pleasantfriday suffered a fracture in her right foreleg in Thursday's race five at Aqueduct. She was subsequently euthanized, becoming the fourth horse to be put down since the opening of the inner track racing season at the Big A.
The 2012 inner track meet was ended prematurely last March after a firestorm of injury resulted in 21 Thoroughbreds being euthanized. Although the numbers to date are slightly less than a pace to equal last year, they are not good.
According to my figures, there were 504 races last year. When you plug in the 21 fatalities, it divides out to a death rate of 4.2 horses per every 100 races.
There have been 144 events this season on the inner track, through Thursday. That produces a fatality rate of 2.8 per 100 races. Better, but still higher than the national average on dirt.
Should this pace continue there will almost surely be calls to take action. Unfortunately, I have yet to meet anyone who is certain how to immediately stem the apparent problems on the inner track.
At the current rate, I wouldn't be shocked if some demand an end to racing this winter. Is it likely to happen? No, but it is not impossible