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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

MARK BONIFACIO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

MARK BONIFACIO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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.


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