Formal Attire becomes eighth horse to die at Aqueduct Racetrack in 27 days of racing


Three-year-old gelding was trailing the leader on the rail entering the far turn at Sunday’s second race when the injury occurred. The horse was euthanized a short time later.
Jerry Bossert / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS / January 28, 2013



Last year at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, 21 horses die in 74 days of racing

A 3-year-old gelding was euthanized at Aqueduct Racetrack Sunday after fracturing its right knee — the eighth horse to die in 27 days of racing at the Queens facility.

Formal Attire was trailing the leader on the rail entering the far turn at Sunday’s second race when the injury occurred. The horse was euthanized a short time later.

The state Racing and Wagering Board has declared five other horses race-day fatalities since Dec. 12. Two additional horses were put down due to infections contracted after their initial track injuries.

Last year at Aqueduct, 21 horses died in 74 days of racing.

“We continue to be very concerned about the equine fatalities at Aqueduct and are saddened by Formal Attire’s death,” the NYRA said in a statement Sunday night.

The rash of deaths has prompted calls for greater oversight of racing at Aqueduct, but the inner-dirt track has been inspected and declared safe and many jockeys and trainers have recently praised the condition of the winterized track.

A recent report by the Task Force of Racehorse Health and Safety, ordered by Gov. Cuomo, found that 11 of the 21 horses that perished last year could have been saved had they been more closely monitored.

On Friday, the NYRA Board of Directors addressed several equine safety initiatives, including reducing the number of race days per week during the inner-track meet to four.
The board will also form a search committee for the new position of Equine Veterinary Medical Director and will establish a mortality review board.

“The safety of the equine and human athletes competing at NYRA’s tracks is a top priority for this board,” said board chairman David Skorton, president of Cornell University.

Other horses that have died on the track since Dec. 12 are El Macho, Bomber Boy, Wildcat’s Smile, Pleasant Friday and Fierce Farce. Horses Bobby Zapper and Volition died of infections that resulted from track injuries. Formal Attire’s corpse will be sent to Cornell for a necropsy.

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Marcia

    Just another unfortunate victim of human greed–greed for fame and money. If people would stop going to the racetrack and stop breeding in hopes of getting a big winner, the horses would really win.

    January 28, 2013
  • I have rescued too many OTTB’s that have lameness issues and mental problems. They are started much too young and most are not treated like a horse should be treated. They are treated as a commodity from which to make money.

    January 28, 2013
  • Karen

    How many of these young innocent creatures have to die before this track is SHUT DOWN?

    January 28, 2013
  • Ingrid Mattsson

    Stop this cruelty!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2013
  • Amy Miller

    If only they started race horses at an older age. 18 months is just too young to start training them. By the time these horses are ready to retire they are already a physical mess or dead. We need to stop this insanity but it is hard to do when the racing industry is in it for the big bucks fast. Quarter horse industry is far worst for the poor quarter horses are easy to replace. Sad!

    January 29, 2013
  • Pepper G

    What can we do to encourage/require changes at Aqueduct and all race courses in the country? Who should we contact and how?

    February 6, 2013