Heat Hazard for Horses: Cancel Lone Star Park Races, Urges PETA

For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Grand Prairie, Texas – With temperatures expected to reach the 100s in the metro Dallas–Fort Worth area this weekend, PETA rushed a letter today to Lone Star Park Racing Secretary Michael Shamburg urging him to cancel the upcoming races, noting that high temperatures can put horses at risk of experiencing brain damage, heatstroke, and fatal cardiac trauma.

“Horses are pushed to the limit every time they race, and the added physical stress caused by skyrocketing temperatures can have deadly consequences,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on Lone Star Park to prevent more tragedies by canceling races in the face of extreme heat.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Shamburg follows.

June 23, 2023

Michael Shamburg
Racing Secretary
Lone Star Park

Dear Mr. Shamburg:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—to urge you to protect horses by cancelling racing at Lone Star Park this weekend during the forecasted extreme heat.

Temperatures are expected to reach close to 100 degrees in Grand Prairie on Saturday, when races are scheduled. Temperatures and the heat index are forecast to be even higher on Sunday. Horses are pushed to the limit every time they race, and the additional stress of skyrocketing temperatures can cause brain damage, collapse as a result of heatstroke, and fatal cardiac trauma. Extra caution should be taken if horses are racing on Lasix, a diuretic that can cause dehydration and that compounds the risks of racing in extreme heat. Many horses have experienced breakdowns or collapsed because of heat, including Merciless Cat, who suffered a catastrophic breakdown after his aorta burst when the temperature at the track was over 100 degrees—footage is available here (2:25).

To protect the health of horses and jockeys, tracks across the country have previously postponed races when high temperatures or heat indexes were expected, including last summer when Churchill Downs and Monmouth Park canceled races after dangerously hot conditions were forecast.

An average of three horses die in racing every day, and extreme heat can easily add to this death toll. By cancelling racing until temperatures cool down, racetracks can help prevent further heat-related deaths. Please take immediate action to protect horses in Texas.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.


Kathy Guillermo
Senior Vice President
Equine Matters Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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