June 21, 2024


To The Editor:

On Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, my very first-time starter, a filly named Royal Blood, was scratched by the Gulfstream Park veterinarian for unknown causes. Straight away soon after I listened to this troubling details that she was scratched, I personally asked for my attending vet to examine on the filly in the getting barn at Gulfstream. Right after meticulously analyzing her, he could find practically nothing mistaken with her so we transported her back again to Palm Meadows coaching center in which I at present steady my horses.

The subsequent day I requested two unique vets to check out Royal Blood to get much more educated views about her soundness, nevertheless once more each identified that she was fine. Just after consulting with the 3rd diverse veterinarian, we made a decision that in buy to be 100 p.c certain of her soundness we really should consider some diagnostic photographs and ultrasound views. Just after those people photos ended up examined, vet number 3 saw almost nothing telling in the X-rays and ultrasound shots. So I made the decision to deliver the illustrations or photos to a person of most renowned and highly regarded vet in the entire world, a person who does not exercise on the racetrack. Immediately after this veterinarian did not find something out of the regular I decided that I desired to converse up since this is not right. 

Royal Blood has 17 registered, formal exercise sessions, like five at Palm Meadows, 1 at Gulfstream, the remainder at Churchill Downs and other tracks in Kentucky. Beneath the current guidelines, prior to a workout horses have to be examined and signed off on by a veterinarian. So this filly with no heritage of any troubles has been examined by licensed veterinarians more than 20 situations through the previous 6 months and only just one of them has observed any problem, an situation I may add that 4 other veterinarians do not agree exists on this horse. I still left numerous calls and text messages with the Gulfstream Park vet yet it was quite a few times in advance of a response was manufactured. He gave no particular rationale for why the filly was scratched.

Essentially, Gulfstream Park is letting their keep track of veterinarian operate with impunity, tiny or no oversight and opposite to the advantage of the observe, the horsemen and house owners and, most importantly, the horses. This mind-set is destroying the minimal guys, killing the spirit and soul of smaller trainers and owners, and unchecked ability in the hands of a couple will do absolutely nothing but chase away the folks that pay back to put on the display. Very number of owners will be willing to maintain the everyday costs of a horse who is positioned on a vet checklist for 14 days prior to that horse is even authorized to breeze once more even if there is no unsoundness observed.

In buy to get off the vets list not only do you have to perform for the keep track of vet in a specified time but they just take samples to be sent off for tests that can from time to time take two or three weeks to get the success back again. So fundamentally when the keep track of vet would make a comparatively arbitrary decision to scratch a horse, you are compelled to overlook education time and probable pass up various likely races, relying on the final results of the exams. So a horse, that in your experienced viewpoint and the belief of your practicing veterinarians was in shape and ready to operate, is forced to miss at minimum a month and it’s possible additional. 

We hear a lot about basic safety and I concur that it’s vitally critical but it is really also critical to sustain a wholesome doing the job romance among those in regulatory positions and the horsemen who are typically placed in hard scenarios.  If tracks can fork out for entertainment and concert events and other non-racing expenditures, why not at the very least commit some revenue putting in a community laboratory to do confined screening of samples for horses placed on vets lists so that there is no wait time and individuals horses can get back to racing? Perhaps do additional random screening of suspect characters’ horses also? 

The economics of racing horses are lousy and acquiring worse. Several trainers can rarely maintain their heads earlier mentioned water with their a each day level, so the only way that they can survive is by means of purse earnings. Purses want to strengthen as effectively and without having adequate entries and healthful field dimensions that is not going to materialize, primarily at destinations like Gulfstream where the purse enhancement from the Calder on line casino has been lost. 

We listen to about complications that tracks and racing commissions have in not currently being ready to locate ample veterinarians to consider these regulatory positions. Following observing some in action, I’m pondering about the top quality as substantially as the quantity. I also question if some do not hold own grudges against specified trainers that might not normally concur with their assessments. I realize that by writing this I may possibly be putting myself in the category of them having a grudge against me, but I would hope that by speaking up perhaps some of these insurance policies and the folks in demand of imposing them can be reviewed so that we can have a procedure that protects horses but will not overzealously cause monetary hardship for no excellent purpose. 

I know HISA is intended to deal with all these troubles sooner or later, but I don’t know how it really is all going to enjoy out. I have own know-how of various horses that were not allowed to run at Gulfstream that delivered out of town and received races. 

I believe that most of Gulfstream Park administration genuinely has the passions of racing at heart. Aidan Butler, Steve Screnci, Mike Lakow and Billy Badgett are all accessible to talk to horsemen about concerns and try out to find affordable answers. Other people in the business do not seem to be willing to do the similar. 

I would like I was a little bit youthful but I’m obtaining older and in some cases feel as well tired to maintain preventing. However, at the end of the day, I will hold standing up for all those who can not combat and are unable to discuss up for panic of retribution. 

If that makes me the undesirable person in the eyes of some, effectively, so be it.

I’ve been referred to as worse.

— Carlo E. Vaccarezza

Lexington, Kentucky

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