In California, owners of the Santa Anita Park have taken the decision to close the track and suspend all racing for an as yet
indefinite period after the death of 21 horses over ten weeks.
Clearly, this is not a good record, and blackbook.com.au takes up
the story for you.
The owners of the Los Angeles track has commissioned their own
study into the surface of the track, and this will be carried out by
Dennis Moore who is a former track superintendent. Such is the
severity of the situations that there will also be an investigation by
the California Horse Racing Board. Speaking to reporters, the Chief
Executive of the Stronach Group who own the venue explained:
" The safety, health and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top
priority. We feel confident in the track, and we’re just being very
proactive. We want to do all the testing that needs to be done, and
when we believe we’re in good shape, we’ll start to train over it
The statement from Tim Ritvo comes after the latest incident on
Tuesday which saw a four-year-old filly called Lets Light the Way
put to sleep after an injury to the front right leg. She was one of nine
deaths that occurred when the main dirt track was being used for
training. It was a similar incident that claimed the life of Battle of
Midway the 2017 Breeders Cup Winner.
When asked for their opinion ahead of the investigation, Rick Arthur
who is the equine medical director for the California Horse Racing
Board said “While the investigations needed to be carried out factor
like heavy rains, a depleted horse population and impatience on the
part of trainers and racetrack officials to get the most out of limited
stock” could not be overlooked. He went onto conclude that “Some
people haven’t been as cautious as they should have on both
Track testing has been carried out after every death and nothing
seems to be obviously causing the problem. The track has been
repeatedly examined and data analysed, and nothing has been
revealed, which lead to the track being cleared for racing each time.
Mick Peterson who is a track safety expert with the University of
Kentucky found no potential irregularities that could explain why the
death toll had risen so dramatically. The course had not been open
long after his visit before the 20th fatality was recorded, with
Eskenforadrink having issues during the race and later being put
down. There is a lot of pressure on the track owners now, and the
decision has come right before the Santa Anita Handicap and the
San Felipe Stakes, neither of which will now be run.
Animal welfare groups including PETA are also watching the
investigations with president Ingrid Newkirk confirming her support
for the decision and stating that the group are keen to see a full
criminal investigation into the issue, but this is not yet on the cards
as far as we understand.