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PETA purchases stock in Mountaineer parent firm

NEW CUMBERLAND — Just a week before the Breeders’ Cup, one of the biggest racing events of the year, PETA has purchased stock in Vici Properties Inc. — the parent company of Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort, a move, the organization says, will allow it to take its case for ending cruel practices straight to the boardroom.

Currently, more than three horses die on North American tracks every day and medications are overused to keep injured horses racing when they should be recuperating, among other deadly practices, PETA said. Its proposed changes include replacing dirt tracks with high-quality synthetic ones, banning trainers who have multiple medication violations and banning whipping. Tracks will be encouraged to work with state racing authorities when necessary.

“Track owners in California and Kentucky are changing their rules and sparing horses a gruesome death, and every track owner in every racing state needs to do the same,” said Kathy Guillermo, PETA senior vice president. “PETA is eager to get inside the boardroom and push Mountaineer to make simple changes that will make a world of difference for vulnerable horses.”

PETA has also purchased stock in Penn National Gaming Inc., Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. and Vici Properties Inc. The group’s proposals also will affect Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia; JACK Thistledown Racino, Belterra Park Gaming and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Ohio; Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino and Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel in Louisiana; Retama Park and Sam Houston Race Park in Texas; Zia Park Casino Hotel and Racetrack in New Mexico; and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania.

The organization has worked with the California Horse Racing Board to implement mandatory investigations into the deaths of horses and increased drug testing for horses, among other new regulations.

The 37th edition of the Breeders Cup is scheduled to be held Friday and Nov. 7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. The event will include 14 races spread across the two days.

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