Statement from the West Virginia Racing Commission

October 19, 2019

The West Virginia Racing Commission is reviewing and investigating the circumstances surrounding the recent incident involving a race horse at Mountaineer Park. All horses, including the horse in question, undergo a pre-race examination by a State Veterinarian to ensure that they are in sound racing condition.

The horse in question experienced a catastrophic injury during the race and was pulled up. The horse was attended at the time of injury by a State Veterinarian, given sedation and pain management. The horse was then vanned off and euthanized by a second State Veterinarian off track.

From conversations with Mountaineer Park management, it is the understanding of the Racing Commission that Mountaineer Park has an arrangement for the disposal of horse remains and the specific manner in which the disposal is to occur does not appear to have been followed in this case. With that said, the Racing Commission does not have any specific regulation that directs our racetracks to dispose of horse remains in any specific manner. However, the Racing Commission desires that all equine athletes that compete on our racetracks whose racing lives have come to an end are treated in a dignified and humane manner.

During the 2019 Legislative Session, the West Virginia Racing Commission was successful in getting legislation passed to give it funds to conduct necropsies on horses that die or that are euthanized on our racetracks. Going forward, as we are able to implement a plan to utilize those funds, deceased horses will be transported to qualified necropsy facilities for a necropsy. Thereafter, the facility will be responsible for the humane and respectful disposition of the remains.

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