BLOCK: Selection Sunday is the following day, and university basketball fanatics, like BJ Leiderman, who writes our theme music, will discover who’s playing whom inside the mad month of March. But first, we visit Southern California and horse racing, where nearly two dozen horses have died on a race song in current months. NPR’s Tom Goldman joins us now. Tom, proper morning.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Melissa.
BLOCK: Twenty- horses have died at Santa Anita Park since the give up of December, which is simply a shocking number. The maximum latest dying came on Thursday. What is in the back of this?
GOLDMAN: Investigators do not know at this point why this many catastrophic breakdowns – in different phrases, injuries the horses suffered even as going for walks, forcing them to be euthanized. Sadly, this takes place in racing. But simply, what is happened at Santa Anita in much less than three months is an outlier. Investigators are looking at a number of of things, which include the song’s condition. People there on a day by day basis say it’s in incredible form. But there has been a whole lot of rain and cooler temperatures potentially affecting the tune.
BLOCK: This week, on Thursday, Santa Anita did announce that it’d be making some modifications. What did they are saying?
GOLDMAN: Yeah. The business enterprise that owns the song issued brilliant modifications for an American race music, banning the arguable 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 places Santa Anita in keeping with most of the arena. Other new changes restrict the usage of whips on horses and use of different drugs, like anti-inflammatories, joint injections, that could mask ache and allow horses to run when they shouldn’t.
And ultimately, Melissa, the LA district legal professional’s office introduced the day past it might check out. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been pushing for this once running shoes and veterinarians investigated, and that brought on this response from an legit with the California Thoroughbred Trainers – quote, “we welcome an research. It’s long beyond the time that those unfounded accusations be proven wrong and that everybody understand our running shoes’ first subject usually is for their horses.”
BLOCK: OK. Let’s move on to March Madness and…
BLOCK: …Brackets that lovers are so eagerly watching for. What ought to we expect?
GOLDMAN: Hoping for insanity. In both the men’s and ladies’s tournament, no clean favorites. Although in the men’s, Duke’s Zion Williamson – the subsequent LeBron James, in case you hadn’t heard, Melissa – is…
BLOCK: I think I’ve heard something about that guy.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. He’s lower back from a knee sprain as a result of his exploding Nike. And he led the Blue Devils beyond archrival North Carolina remaining night within the ACC match. He makes Duke very good. Others to watch – North Carolina, Gonzaga, Virginia, Tennessee. On the ladies’s facet, UConn has gotten thru a rocky season for them, losing entire games. But for as soon as, they’re no longer the overpowering favorite stepping into. Baylor, which beat the Huskies this season, is ranked first inside the u . S .. All five pinnacle teams have misplaced games. So Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Louisville – they may be all contenders, too.
BLOCK: Well, ultimate 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 keeping on.
GOLDMAN: For the first time ever, humans will virtually bet money at the tournament.
BLOCK: Shocked. I’m taken aback.
GOLDMAN: No, now not truly. Actually, it just manner greater human beings can bet legally across the u . S . A . Without flying to Las Vegas. It’ll mean the billions already wager need to boom and boom the overall amount of money – billions surrounding the event, none of it, of route, going to the athletes, who generate the product.
BLOCK: All right. NPR’s Tom Goldman. Tom, thank you so much.