MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And it is time now for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BLOCK: Selection Sunday is the following day, and university basketball fanatics, like BJ Leiderman, who writes our subject matter song, will discover who’s gambling whom within the mad month of March. But first, we go to Southern California and horse racing, in which nearly a dozen horses have died on a race tune in current months. NPR’s Tom Goldman joins us now. Tom, appropriate morning.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Melissa.
BLOCK: Twenty-two horses have died at Santa Anita Park since the end of December; that is simply a surprising range. The maximum recent loss of life came on Thursday. What is behind this?
GOLDMAN: Investigators do not know at this factor why this many catastrophic breakdowns – in different phrases, injuries the horses suffered whilst strolling, forcing them to be euthanized. Sadly, this happens in racing. But certainly, what is happened at Santa Anita in less than three months is an outlier. Investigators are looking at quite several factors, inclusive of the tune’s situation. People there on a everyday foundation say it is in brilliant form. But there was numerous rain and cooler temperatures probably affecting the tune.
BLOCK: This week, on Thursday, Santa Anita did announce that it would be making a few adjustments. What did they say?
GOLDMAN: Yeah. The company that owns the track issued remarkable changes for American race music, banning the controversial diuretic Lasix from being given to horses on the day they run. Now, maximum international locations do not allow it on race days. The U.S. Does. So this puts Santa Anita in line with the maximum of the world. Other new modifications restrict the use of whips on horses and the use of different tablets, like anti-inflammatories, joint injections, that may mask pain and allow horses to run when they should not.
And ultimately, Melissa, the LA district lawyer’s workplace, announced the day before today it would investigate. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been pushing for this as soon as running shoes and veterinarians studied, and that brought on this response from a legit with the California Thoroughbred Trainers – quote, “we welcome an investigation. It’s long beyond the time that these unfounded accusations be verified incorrect and that everyone realizes our running shoes’ first issue constantly is for his or her horses.”
BLOCK: OK. Let’s pass on to March Madness and…
BLOCK: …Brackets that lovers are so eagerly anticipating. What must we expect?
GOLDMAN: Hoping for insanity. In each of the guys and girls’ tournaments, no clean favorites. Although in the guys, Duke’s Zion Williamson – the subsequent LeBron James, if you hadn’t heard, Melissa – is…
BLOCK: I suppose I’ve heard something approximately that man.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. He’s returned from a knee sprain as a result of his exploding Nike. And he led the Blue Devils beyond archrival North Carolina final night time within the ACC event. He makes Duke excellent. Others to observe – North Carolina, Gonzaga, Virginia, Tennessee. UConn has gotten through a rocky season for them on the girls’ side, losing entire games. But for once, they are now not the overpowering favored getting in. Baylor, which beat the Huskies this season, is ranked first within the united states of America. All five pinnacle teams have lost games. So Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Louisville – they’re all contenders, too.
BLOCK: Well, final May, the Supreme Court legalized sports having a bet. How’s that going to play out?
GOLDMAN: Hold on in your hat, Melissa.
BLOCK: I’m maintaining on.
GOLDMAN: For the first time, human beings will absolutely bet money at the match.
BLOCK: Shocked. I’m stunned.
GOLDMAN: No, now not simply. Actually, it simply means more people can guess legally around the country without flying to Las Vegas. It’ll imply the billions already bet have to grow and increase the general sum of money – billions surrounding the match, none of it, of direction, going to the athletes, who generate the product.