Turf Paradise starts checking all horses before races

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- One Phoenix racetrack is hoping to better protect its horses, after many of them were getting hurt.

On Monday, Turf Paradise implemented a new rule that requires pre-race exams for all horses that are racing. The general manager says it's all about making sure the horses are fit for racing.

"Begin the process of all the races, all the horses and neds races. By that, all of them get a look at by the two veterinarians in the morning," said Vincent Francia.

At Arizona's largest horseracing track, about 15 horses used to receive pre-race exams, per day, based on selections made by stewards. With the new policy, however, Turf Paradise will examine about 65 horses on race days, keeping the track veterinarians busy.

"I stand out here, I watch the horses," said Dr. Verlin Jones, a track veterinarian. "If I think there's a problem, I'll pull that horse aside, and talk to the jockey about that horse."

While the new policy means more work, Francia says it's all about making the animal's safety and health a priority.

"The horses, they are family to everyone here, and when one suffers a fatality, so we want to -- we all feel it," said Francia. "So, this is wanted to implement everything we possibly could to keep these beautiful animals safe."

Leaders at the track say racehorses usually tend to have lots of leg injuries, because of their heavy body and thin legs.