3 Horses Die in 3 Days at Santa Anita, Prompting Fresh Criticism of Racetrack

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on California racing officials to suspend racing at the track.

Comments: 23

  1. The ankle injuries sound like they could be the result of surface imperfections on the track, and could be considered a problem for the track to take care of. The collision between two horses seems like an unfortunate incident. What seems to be missing is any comparison with other similar race tracks. Is Santa Anita unusually dangerous, or does it fit in with an overall trend? A bit more data would be helpful here.

  2. @Marty Good comment and solid questions. I wish a chart or graph could be compiled listing all equine deaths at the major racing tracks in the past ten years. No doubt the data results would be as astonishing as it would be alarming.

  3. Santa Anita doesn’t have as many fatalities per start as some tracks. However, Santa Anita has come under the most scrutiny because of its location, the demographics of California and conspiracy theory here, the extraordinary value of the land it sits on. There are whispers that having the track closed due to fatalities is an easy excuse to sell the property to developers. The value of this land due to its size, location and exceptional beauty is astronomical.

  4. @Marty Over the last ten years or so, I believe Churchill Downs averaged the most horse deaths per starts. I believe the extremely high total of deaths last year at Santa Anita's winter meeting was due to extreme and unusual weather which affected the racing surface. Though I do not condone horse racing deaths, I believe the constant publicity surrounding the deaths at SA is due to certain people who desire to have Santa Anita closed so the property may me used for real estate development to the tune of 5 billion dollars.

  5. Good grief! Five deaths at Santa Anita since the start of this year, three of which died in three days. I could not agree more with the statement from PETA, “If it takes the closure of a track to stop the deaths, then close the track.” The California Horse Racing Board submitted a list of "proposed changes to safety regulations on the types of drugs given to horses, racing in inclement weather and the transparency of veterinary records" after 31 deaths occurred last year at Santa Anita. Well, so much for their proposed changes to ensure the health and safety of these beautiful creatures. What will it take for the Santa Anita race track to be closed down? I shudder to think how many more horses will die at that track.

  6. Close them down! What more data do you need to make a rational and reasonable decision?

  7. I rarely agree with PETA, but yes please. Regarding comparisons with other tracks, it's part of the sport, yes. But something else seems to be going on at Santa Anita. The shifting blame is concerning if nothing else. If you go back through the media coverage, at the outset to now, the managers have blamed the rain, the trainers, the horses, all sorts of things. There's no acknowledgement that horses die, and die frequently, in this sport. I heard some great reporting on NPR on this a while back, and there's a story in the Mercury News with stats across tracks from June of last year. https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/06/29/santa-anita-is-not-the-only-racetrack-where-horses-are-dying-will-horse-racing-survive/

  8. Good grief! Five deaths at Santa Anita since the start of this year, three of which died in three days. I could not agree more with the statement from PETA, “If it takes the closure of a track to stop the deaths, then close the track.” Apparently the list of "proposed changes to safety regulations on the types of drugs given to horses, racing in inclement weather and the transparency of veterinary records" submitted by the California Horse Racing Board after 31 deaths occurred last year was either ignored or simply filed away because it's only the third week in January and already five horses were injured and euthanized. Just how many of these beautiful creatures must die before enough is enough and Santa Anita is closed down?

  9. How can anyone go to any horse-racing event anywhere? Deaths and injuries aren't just happening at Santa Anita - they happen everywhere. Check out Horseracing Wrongs. Santa Anita should be closed down immediately; and everyone should know this so-called sport is rife with cruelty.

  10. Good grief! Five deaths at Santa Anita since the start of this year, three of which died in three days. I could not agree more with the statement from PETA, “If it takes the closure of a track to stop the deaths, then close the track.” The California Horse Racing Board submitted a list of "proposed changes to safety regulations on the types of drugs given to horses, racing in inclement weather and the transparency of veterinary records" after 31 deaths occurred last year at Santa Anita. I cannot help but wonder if that information was ignored or dismissed because we’re only in the 3rd week of January and already 5 horses were injured resulting in them being euthanized. Just how many of these beautiful creatures must die before enough is enough and Santa Anita is closed down?

  11. I kept my horse on a racehorse farm for a year. I was appalled constantly by horses in the aisle with IVs in them. I have also watched as breeders stop breeding for strong substantive bone size and strength in the pursuit of speed. Thoroughbred racing is on life support as greed destroys horses through the constant churn. I can only say please please stop this madness.

  12. I think it is about time that we as a society realize that horseracing has more in common with bullfighting and dogfighting than not. Using and killing animals for our amusement is an offense against their dignity and ours. There is no place for horse racing in a civilized society. It should end.

  13. Isn’t it simply time to end this “sport?” These animals have no choice in the matter, and the continued trend of deaths speaks for itself.

  14. The only way to reform horse racing is to put under federal control with a commissioner with full power and authority to over every aspect of horse racing.

  15. We could do some real Tikkun Olam by suspending horse racing altogether until we can figure out a way to allow thoroughbreds to heal from broken bones rather than euthanizing them whenever they're seriously injured.

  16. Way to go Santa Anita. The horse racing industry seems primed to destroy itself with its resistance to change that favors horse safety - at some cost to owners. One doesn't have to be an animal rights activist, or totally opposed to racing, to be disturbed that another year is starting with multiple deaths. The problem is not merely about what drug was used yesterday or last week, or the composition of the track, but about an entire industry which aims to produce horses to compete too early, without developmental readiness, and at the limits of endurance, pricked by whatever drugs or "supplements," that can elude testing.

  17. Shut it down.

  18. Way to go Santa Anita. The horse racing industry seems primed to destroy itself with its resistance to change that favors horse safety - at some cost to owners. One doesn't have to be an animal rights activist, or totally opposed to racing, to be disturbed that another year is starting with multiple deaths. The problem is not merely about what drug was used yesterday or last week, or the composition of the track, but about an entire industry which aims to produce horses to compete too early, without developmental readiness, and at the limits of endurance, pricked by whatever drugs or "supplements," that can elude testing. 3rd

  19. Disgusting. Unacceptable treatment of the animals, and one doesn't have to be an animal rights activist to be disturbed. The problem is that the problem is not merely about what drug was used yesterday or last week, or but about an entire industry which aims to produce horses to compete too early, without developmental readiness, and at the limits of endurance, pricked by whatever drugs that can elude testing that may be done. The horse racing industry seems primed to destroy itself with it's resistance to change.

  20. If there was no negligence and no cruelty, then it is apparent this "sport" is inherently dangerous to its athletes ( the horses). and should be stopped.

  21. Is there so little regard for animal suffering? Are we humans so indifferent that we are willing to continue pursuing mindless activities such as horse racing, irregardless of the misery it causes to horses? I’m ashamed.

  22. I don't believe it's the track, too much meditation is been used on sick horses so they are breaking down on the track, take a look at other major tracks around the country the fields are bigger than Santa Anita without the casualties, Fix it because I don't want to join in with the closing of the track, much love