Many horse racing lovers attach a kind of reverence to the name of Ascot. Supported by British Royalty, the race track has long been synonymous with the best traditions of this ancient sport. Ascot has also been the beneficiary of major fund injections to help it upgrade to cutting-edge standards and to retain its vanguard position in the world of horse racing.
That is why the wasting of Media Puzzle is such a disgrace. This magnificent 9-year old horse was trained by Dermot Weld in the U.K. and traveled to race across the globe to Australia, where he even lifted the coveted Melbourne Cup just a few years ago. Media Puzzle stumbled and hurt a limb during an Ascot event in the recent past: what did the horse racing authorities do-they promptly put him down!
This is 2006 and not 1806 or earlier! We know that Barbaro is doing fairly well even a month after a similar accident. No one can be sure if he will recover adequately, but our consciences can be clear that no surgical stone has been left untried. Why was it not possible to attempt surgery on Media Puzzle? Has anyone checked his diet for calcium and iron content? Were no capable veterinarians on hand to check him out before the race? Could someone not have asked Barbaro’s surgeon for an opinion before passing the death sentence on Media Puzzle?
Horse racing will thrive if we allow it to do so. The Queen may not ask why Media Puzzle was not saved, but plebian punters must. Even if horse racing enthusiasts are not moved by the wanton killing of Media Puzzle, the sport cannot continue with the inhuman convention of putting loyal thoroughbreds down, literally at the drop of a fashionable hat! There is not a day to lose in the effort to reign in casual murder of race horses. Owners and race track officials must set aside money for adequate injury treatment and rehabilitation of animals used in horse racing. We will be eventually forced to do so if we are not pro-active and self regulate in time.