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Some people were shocked by the revelation that five New Mexico race tracks had the worst safety records in the nation.
According to the New York Times, trainers here “illegally pump sore horses full of painkillers to mask injury” and race them; if they’re caught the penalties are minimal. In the last three years, some 3,600 horses died at state-regulated tracks nationwide. In just 13 days in 2010, nine horses died racing at Sunland Park, five were hauled away, and two jockeys were hospitalized, one in critical condition.
The March 24 story features a photo of a dead racehorse at a Ruidoso dump, its broken front leg visible, and a video interview with Jacky Martin, a New Mexico jockey paralyzed after his horse went down.
One person who wasn’t shocked was Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee. Lopez had her moments of shock months earlier, and began investigating. When members of the state Racing Commission came before the committee in February for confirmation, Lopez was ready.
Questioning Commission Chairman Robert Doughty III about drugs and additives given to horses, she said New Mexico’s enforcement is so lax that it draws the worst in the racing industry.
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