Grants Pass Downs requires pre-race vet checks for every single one of our equine athletes. We truly care that each one of our horses are healthy and sound before they take to the track.
Horse racing is a thrilling sport, and there will always be risks. By implementing pre-race vet checks, however, we can minimize those risks as much as possible.
During a pre-race vet check, an experienced veterinarian interacts with each horse the morning of the race. The vet checks the horse’s tattoo to confirm it’s the correct horse, performs a hands-on palpation and manipulation of the front legs. A visual gait assessment as the horse is moving to and away from the vet is done. For a horse to race, it’s vital that their legs and hooves are in the best possible condition. Any signs or symptoms that a horse may show that it is unfit, a deeper examination will be made and for any serious reason of concern will be scratched from racing that day under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Racing Veterinarian.
Several veterinarians are present at the paddocks as the horses are being saddled and warmed up, at the gate, in the grandstands, and on the backside of the racetrack. Jockeys and trainers are encouraged to inform the veterinarian if they are sensing anything “off” with their horse’s movements. And if the vet notes any potential concerns in his or her observations, they’ll follow up and make sure that they’ve taken a closer look before the race begins.
Grants Pass Downs’ race horses receive continual high-caliber care and attention and it’s imperative to have horses pulled on race day for health related concerns. Our philosophy is always that a horse who isn’t fully fit will not be put on the track. Our first priority at Grants Pass Downs is the health and safety of our athletes.