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O.P. « 2019-Mar-06, 06:45 PM »
Santa Anita closed indefinitely

Andrew Eddy@fastisheddy

A spate of equine deaths has forced Californian racing officials to cancel racing indefinitely at Santa Anita Park.
At least 21 horses have died at the venue in racing or training since the track, situated just north of Los Angeles, opened for the winter season on December 26.
That equates to about double the number of horses that died at Santa Anita Park during the same period last year, according to The Los Angeles Times.
On average, there were 53 horse fatalities at Santa Anita Park each year from 2013 to 2018, according to data from the California Horse Racing Board.
The announcement that racing would be cancelled indefinitely came hours after Lets Light the Way was fatally injured training on the Santa Anita main track on Wednesday morning.
California Thoroughbred Trainers president Jim Cassidy said training on both the main track and the training track has also been shut down but that he is working to get the training track open for horses to gallop during the weekend.
The decision came just days before one of the most important cards on Santa Anita's stakes schedule, the March 9 program that featured two Grade 1 events (the Santa Anita Handicap and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile) and a pair of Grade 2 races, including the San Felipe Stakes, an important prep race for the Kentucky Derby.

Obviously a very serious issue so many fatalities.

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« 2019-Mar-07, 07:27 PM Reply #1 »
Del Mar experienced similar problems - see below

By Tod Leonard
6 March 2019
In late summer of 2016, it was the Del Mar racetrack under the magnified, unwanted spotlight now focused on Santa Anita Park.
Del Mar suffered 17 horse deaths in its popular meet that year, with another five breaking down in fall racing. Animal rights activists responded in force, and a state lawmaker called for a full investigation by the California Horse Racing Board.
Through a full renovation of its track, significant changes in procedures and likely some plain good fortune, Del Mar markedly turned around its safety record.
There were a total of seven fatal breakdowns for both meets in 2017, with four horse deaths in all of 2018.
That is a startling contrast to the 21 horses who have died at Santa Anita since Dec. 26, prompting the track’s officials to indefinitely suspend racing while the condition of the main dirt track is assessed.
With national mainstream media reporting about Santa Anita, Del Mar officials know and feel their pain.
“We are very unsettled by this,” Del Mar spokesman Mac McBride said Wednesday. “No. 1, we’re unsettled for the horses and the horsemen who are losing them. There is a ripple effect, especially here in Southern California. Everybody knows that ‘but for fortune go I.’ It can happen.”
As nervous owners and trainers await word on when Santa Anita might resume racing, McBride said there have been inquires about possibly housing and training horses at Del Mar.
The problem for Del Mar, however, is that it is currently undergoing a major water reclamation project in its infield that has heavy trucks and equipment crossing the track throughout the day. McBride said it is unlikely that Del Mar would be able to get into a position to host training.
In the meantime, Del Mar’s executives keep a close eye on Santa Anita and hope for the best.
Del Mar track superintendent Dennis Moore has been contracted by Santa Anita to return to examine and work on the Arcadia track beginning Thursday. Moore was at Santa Anita starting in 2014; he also agreed to renovate Del Mar’s track before the 2017 summer meeting that saw the positive upturn in safety.
Late last year, Moore, who lives in Fallbrook, decided to take Santa Anita off his busy schedule, while still working for Del Mar and Los Alamitos.
“If there is something wrong with the racetrack at Santa Anita, Dennis will find it and he will fix it,” McBride said.
The heavy string of deaths have left Santa Anita management baffled. Rain could be considered a factor, since the track received 11½ inches of it in February.
A week ago, Santa Anita commissioned Mick Peterson, the director of Ag Equine Programs at the University of Kentucky, to examine the track, and he concluded there were no issues with the surface on the days of his study.
Santa Anita announced Wednesday afternoon that Peterson and Moore will do additional testing of the track “to ensure track consistency and uniformity for both training and racing.”
A normal dry track has a deep cushion of dirt to keep horses’ hooves from bottoming out or finding irregularities on the hard pan underneath. With rain, that surface softens and can separate, possibly leaving the bottom layer exposed. Superintendents combat that by “sealing” the track with equipment that pushes the water away. It makes it smoother, but also slick and faster.
On Wednesday, Dr. Rick Arthur, chief equine veterinarian for the California Horse Racing Board and UC Davis, told the Los Angeles Times that after looking for common traits among the 21 fatalities, he couldn’t find anything that stood out.
“They are all over the place, from Battle of Midway, a well-seasoned horse, to a first-time starter,” Arthur said, noting that the deceased horses are from 17 different trainers.
The backgrounds of the horses will be studied and necropsies are ongoing, but Arthur warned there may never been a definitive answer about these 21 deaths.
“We can hope that it identifies strategies that make racing safer,” Arthur said. “It’s not just the track. It’s not just the horse. It’s the whole schedule … the training program, the racing program, everything.”
Though Del Mar officials acknowledge they haven’t found the antidote for horse racing deaths, they believe the steps they took after the tragic summer of 2016 have made a significant difference.
Among those McBride listed: the full renovation of the track surface; fewer racing days; fewer horses housed and training at the track; three breaks (instead of two) in morning training for the track to be refreshed; and after those breaks, giving priority to horses running a full workout to run along the rail.
Additionally, McBride said Del Mar has been “ferocious” with its own veterinarians to identify horses that are unfit to race. That includes examining a horse’s past race and training performance.
If a maiden horse hasn’t run in nine months and has only two workouts in that time, “Uh oh, that’s a huge red flag,” McBride said.
“We’ve told our vets that we’re getting really serious about the horses,” McBride said. “We cannot allow a horse on the track that shouldn’t be racing. It’s on you guys to find them in advance.”
McBride notes all of this and then finds a nearby piece of wood to tap.
“The last two years we’ve had awfully safe meetings,” he said.

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« 2019-Apr-02, 06:50 PM Reply #2 »
Another horse fatality has been reported during a race meeting a few days ago also it seems that Santa Anita has banned medication on race days and no more whips although the whip issue is yet to be confirmed according to one report I saw.

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« 2019-May-21, 03:15 PM Reply #3 »
Tuesday 21 May, 2019   
After six weeks of safe racing and training, Santa Anita has had its second horse death in four days.

A first starter pulled up in a race on Sunday was euthanised on Monday (Tuesday AEST) to bring up the 25th death at the track since December 26.

Spectacular Music was running in a maiden claiming race restricted to California-breds when jockey Jorge Velez pulled the horse up.

The gelding was found to have a pelvis injury an, after initial attempts to save him, the decision was made to put him down.

On Friday, Commander Coil was euthanised after suffering a shoulder-area injury during a routine training gallop.

The two injuries are similar only in that they are not the most common injuries. Most catastrophic injuries to horses occur in the fetlock or joint area of the leg, not the shoulder area or pelvis.

"You'll find that there are pre-existing conditions on most scapular (shoulder blade), pelvic, lumbar (spine), humerus and tibia (lower leg) injuries," Rick Arthur, chief equine veterinarian of the CHRB, said.

"But many are not clinically apparent. The problem is they are hard to discover because they are covered by muscle. Horses with these injuries don't show lameness. They are very hard to pick up."

Arthur did not know what prior treatment either of the two horses had received.

The track was coming off a period in which it recorded almost 7000 timed work-outs and race starts without serious incident. Santa Anita estimates that around 80,000 horses had galloped during that period.


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« 2019-Jun-10, 04:56 PM Reply #4 »
Monday 10 June, 2019
A second horse in two days and 29th in the past few months has died at Santa Anita where management has chosen to continue racing.

Truffalino collapsed in the final stages of the third race on turf on Sunday. A track spokesman says the three-year-old filly died of a heart attack.

She was trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and was ridden by Joe Talamo. Truffalino had one win in six career starts.

A day earlier, Formal Dude pulled up in the 10th race after breaking down nearing the finish line. Tiago Pereira was aboard the favourite trained by Phil D'Amato.
The four-year-old gelding, winless in six starts, was later euthanised.

The California Horse Racing Board has recommended the track suspend the remaining days of its meeting which is set to end on June 23 but Santa Anita management has chosen to continue racing.

The racing board does not have the authority to suspend a race meeting or remove race dates without the approval of the track operator or without holding a public meeting that requires 10 days' notice.

The CHRB recommended Santa Anita suspend racing but allow horses to continue training, believing it would provide the industry extra time to fully implement announced safety initiatives.

"It is our understanding that Santa Anita management, after consultation with certain other industry stakeholders, believes that for a variety of reasons, the future of California racing is best served by continuing to race," the racing board said in a statement.

In giving Santa Anita 10 days' notice, the CHRB may be able to shut down the track for the last three days of the meeting.

Santa Anita has enacted a series of reforms aimed at improving safety, but despite its efforts and a six-week stretch in which no horses died at the Arcadia track, more deaths have occurred.

"Either the rules aren't strong enough or the rules aren't being followed, but whatever the reason for the deaths of two more horses, Santa Anita needs to listen to the California Horse Racing Board and shut down," Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said.

Santa Anita is scheduled to host the Breeders' Cup meeting on November 1 and 2.

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« 2019-Jun-23, 02:11 PM Reply #5 »
Hall of Fame trainer banned over horse deaths
Posted by: AAP+ at 9:00am on 23/6/2019
Posted in: Breaking, International Horse Racing
IMAGE: AAPJerry Hollendorfer has been banned by the ownership of Santa Anita after a fourth horse from his stable died

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has been banned by the ownership of Santa Anita after a fourth horse from his stable died – and the 30th overall – at the Southern California track.

The Stronach Group, which owns the track, said in a statement that effective immediately Hollendorfer “is no longer welcome to stable, race or train his horses at any of our facilities”.

On the recommendation of a special panel convened to review horses’ medical, training and racing history, the track’s stewards scratched four horses trained by Hollendorfer entered to run on Saturday and Sunday.

A four-year-old gelding trained by Hollendorfer was injured on Saturday while exercising on the training track and was euthanised.

It was the 30th death since the racing season began on December 26. The track closes for the season on Sunday (Monday AEST).

Hollendorfer could not immediately be reached for comment.

A nine-year-old gelding named Kochees trained by Hollendorfer was euthanised on May 26 after injuring his left front leg in a race a day earlier.

At the time, a spokesman for The Stronach Group told the AP it was looking into whether new protocols were followed leading up to the gelding’s death.

The Stronach Group said in a statement it regrets Hollendorfer’s record in recent months at both Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in Northern California “has become increasingly challenging and does not match the level of safety and accountability we demand”.

The track owner said individuals who do not embrace the new rules and safety measures that put horse and rider safety above all else will have no place at any Stronach Group racetrack.

Mike Marten, spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board, said Hollendorfer’s gelding American Currency was not entered to run in any race and thus was not subject to review by the special panel.

Kochees’ injury appeared to be correctable through surgery but when doctors realised the horse had lost blood flow to the leg, he was put down.

Among the rules put in place since March, a trainer’s veterinarian must sign off on a horse’s fitness before the track’s veterinarian also examines the animal ahead of it training or racing.

“In my mind there is absolutely no doubt that we’ve done every single thing properly with Kochees and all the rest of our horses, too,” Hollendorfer said after the Kochees incident.

“We certainly are pretty sad when they get hurt.”

The 72-year-old trainer is best known for overseeing Eclipse Award winners Blind Luck, Shared Belief and Songbird. Based in Northern California for most of his career, Hollendorfer frequently races his horses at Southern California’s tracks,

He is known for buying young horses at auction in the low to mid-price range, often with his own money.

He then puts together ownership groups and retains a percentage of the horses while also training them.

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