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Horse Racing Crisis Deepens Amid Two More Deaths

  • Belmont Park deaths add to prior causalities at Churchill Downs, Pimlico
  • Final 2023 Triple Crown race generates record betting handle in Fox Sports’ debut coverage
NANCY ROKOS/SPECIAL TO THE NEWS JOURNAL / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the deadliest Triple Crown seasons in horse racing history ended over the weekend — leaving serious questions over the sport’s future.

Two more horses died from catastrophic leg injuries following the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes, marking the third and fourth deaths at Belmont Park since early May. 

These latest casualties follow 12 deaths this spring at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs, leading to a month-long suspension of races there. In addition, a Bob Baffert-trained horse had to be euthanized on the track at Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course, site of the Preakness Stakes.

“Racing couldn’t manage to keep all horses alive for even one Triple Crown day this year,” said Kathy Guillermo, PETA’s senior vice president. “The racing industry is digging its own grave.”

PETA later said Belmont Park “has blood on its hands” and called for the suspension of racing there.

The circumstances surrounding the latest horse deaths remain under investigation.

Robust Betting Totals

While horse racing’s safety crisis continues, Fox Sports finished its initial coverage of the Belmont Stakes with an expected emphasis on the NYRA Bets wagering platform it co-owns. 

Total betting handle for the day’s entire 13-race card hit $118.3 million — a NYRA record without a complete Triple Crown at stake — while the Belmont Stakes alone generated $56.5 million in bets, up 12% from a year ago.

Jena Antonucci made history at the 2023 Belmont Stakes as the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race, leading Arcangelo to victory.

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