Since Santa Anita Park’s current meet opened on Dec. 26, 2018, 21 racehorses have died or been euthanized due to injuries sustained for the duration of racing and education. On March five, after the fourth fatality related to training on the main song in view that Feb. 23, officers announced that racing and schooling would be canceled indefinitely at the Arcadia, California, venue.
Jeremy Balan of BloodHorse reported March five that “of the nine fatalities from training for the reason that meeting started out, one was labeled as an ‘unexpected demise’ with the aid of the CHRB (California Horse Racing Board), meaning it becomes now not associated with musculoskeletal harm. The different 8 have been from accidents sustained on principle music, and none had been related to injuries on the education tune, which sits among the turf path and the infield. Racing fatalities have come about on each the principle tune (seven) and on the turf course (5).”
Among the fatalities become 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway. The 5-12 months-old sustained a hind pastern fracture at some stage in schooling on Feb. 23 and changed into in the end euthanized due to the severity of the spoil.
“The protection, health, and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top priority,” stated Tim Ritvo, leader operating officer of The Stronach Group, which owns and operates Santa Anita, in a March five release. “While we’re confident further checking out will affirm the steadiness of the song, the decision to shut is the right factor to do right now.”
In the discharge, The Stronach Group stated it’s been inconsistent communique with the CHRB and other enterprise stakeholders who consider entirely the decision to droop racing and education.
The release stated additional music trying out could be led with the aid of veteran trackman and former Santa Anita music superintendent Dennis Moore, who plans to make bigger on the floor-penetrating radar checking outperformed in February by means of Mick Peterson, PhD, director of the University of Kentucky’s Agricultural Equine Programs and govt director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, and utilize the Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester, a device that mimics the effects of a horse at a full gallop and allows engineers to see how the music holds up.
Further, The Stronach Group suggested inside the launch it’ll be carrying out a complete assessment of all current safety measures and existing protocols.
Stakes races scheduled for the upcoming weekend—which includes the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, the Grade II San Felipe (a prep race for the upcoming Kentucky Derby) and the Grade II San Carlos—would be rescheduled.
Feb. 24—After 18 fatalities all through the race meet, The Stronach Group and the CHRB announce in a press launch that the 1-mile essential song could near so government ought to evaluate the surface soundness.
In the release, The Stronach Group said, “Although Santa Anita has experienced 11½ inches of rain and near-record bloodless temperatures this month, dry weather and greater moderate temperatures … will allow (tune superintendent Andy) LaRocco’s crew to ‘peel lower back’ the song’s cushion to a depth of approximately five inches, wherein an intensive exam of the base may be undertaken.”
Many enterprise members speculate that the strangely humid and cold weather the place has experienced this winter could be playing a function in modifications within the racing surface.
Additionally, the release reports that Peterson would be on the website to study Santa Anita’s subsurface and floor records.
Feb. 27—After testing, The Stronach Group reviews in a release that the main song changed into deemed “a hundred percent geared up” after checks. Investigators evaluated soil samples; thoroughly tested the song’s cushion, pad, and base; and used ground-penetrating radar to assess the consistency at some point of the oval.
Feb. 28—The first song reopens for education and racing.
March 2—Eskenforadrink, a 4-year-old filly, sustains a fracture to her right front fetlock throughout a race on principle music and is euthanized.
March 5—Lets Light the Way, a four-12 months-old filly, sustains an extreme musculoskeletal injury at some point of morning schooling and is ultimately euthanized.
March five—The Stronach Group pronounces that Santa Anita Park could near for stay racing and training “effective without delay even as the 1-mile foremost music undergoes additional full-size testing.”