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Racehorse dies after escaping Vancouver stable and running into wall, marking 5th death of 2023

A jockey is seen riding a horse at the Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver in an undated file photo. (Facebook/ Hastings Racecourse and Casino). In the 2023 racing season so far, three horses have died and another was injured during competitions at the track. A jockey is seen riding a horse at the Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver in an undated file photo. (Facebook/ Hastings Racecourse and Casino). In the 2023 racing season so far, three horses have died and another was injured during competitions at the track.

Another horse has died at the Hastings Racecourse, bringing the 2023 death toll to five.

The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, the regulatory body of B.C.’s horse racing industry, confirms a two-year-old mare named Shadesofriogrande died on Sept. 15 after escaping from its stable and crashing into a wooden wall.

“The horse remained down on the ground and was attended to by the horseperson’s practicing veterinarian,” reads a statement by the Ministry of Public Safety, which oversees GPEB. “It was determined that the horse was deceased and suffered blunt force trauma and blood loss from crashing into the wall.”

The ministry says the horse’s body was sent to a lab for an autopsy for further analysis.

FIVE RACEHORSE DEATHS IN TWO MONTHS

This is the fifth confirmed horse death at Hastings Racecourse since July 16, when a five-year-old gelding named One Fifty One was euthanized after falling during a race.

Six days later, a three-year-old filly named Lent Me Twenty took a fatal fall in the paddock during The Cup—an annual event that attracts roughly 10,000 formally-dressed attendees.

On July 30, a horse named Memorandum was euthanized due to an unrecoverable injury.

The last fatality of the summer involved a horse named Eddie that fell during a timed workout at the racecourse and never got up.

CONCERNS OVER REGULATOR’S RESPONSE

In a statement Wednesday, the Vancouver Humane Society called the losses devastating.

“How many more incidents will it take for organizers to address the unnecessary risks posed to these sensitive and intelligent animals, who are forced into stressful and dangerous events week after week?” VHS communications director Chantelle Archambault wrote in the release.

She’s also argued officials should be more forthcoming with information about these incidents, claiming it took the GPEB eight days to respond to VHS’s Sept. 18 inquiry about the latest death.

“The GPEB’s delayed response is concerning,” said Archambault. “The public should be asking themselves what is being done to keep these horses safe; and if they can’t be kept safe, how transparent will organizers and regulators be about the tragic consequences?”

To date, fewer horses have died at Hastings Racecourse this year than last.

According to the Ministry of Public Safety, there were eight racehorse deaths in 2022—six of which resulted from injuries and two that were “from natural causes.”

“Unfortunately, horse injuries and deaths can occur during the race season,” the ministry wrote in a previous statement to CTV News. It added that none of the fatalities recorded last year happened during live races.

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