Santa Anita set to continue racing until end of current season

A general shot of A horse's hooves

Officials at Santa Anita racecourse in California intend for racing to continue to the end of its current season on June 23.

The track has been the focus of intense scrutiny since Christmas due to a reported 29 fatalities, the latest being a three-year-old filly who collapsed near the end of a turf race on Sunday.

The California Horse Racing Board has asked officials to suspend racing for the remaining days of the meeting, but that request has been denied.

A number of rule changes, including to pre-race medication and the use of the whip, were introduced in March – moves the track insists have had a positive effect, and should be seen through.

A statement on attributed to The Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers read: “We are collectively working on behalf of everyone in the sport — grooms, hot walkers, jockeys, exercise riders, starters, trainers, owners, track managers and every horse wearing a bridle and a saddle — to reform and improve racing every day.

“After extensive consultation among all partners, Santa Anita Park will stay open through the end of its meet to see these reforms through.

“Since wide-sweeping reforms have been instituted at Santa Anita, catastrophic injuries have dropped considerably compared to earlier this meet, decreasing by 50 per cent in racing and by more than 84 per cent in training.

“To be clear, there are no acceptable losses, and every day we work toward ending all serious injuries. But the reality is that our improvements and changes have been effective.

“A detailed and serious epidemiological investigation of all track accidents is under way and will continue with the greatest urgency. Track management, owners, trainers and veterinarians are redoubling their vigilance and close supervision of both training and racing protocols and will consider all enhancements to the sweeping new protocols already introduced.

“We have great respect for Governor Newsom and the CHRB, and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to discuss these issues.”

Santa Anita is due to host this year’s Breeders’ Cup meeting, on November 2 and 3.