Santa Anita: 25 Dead Racehorses, Not 21

Santa Anita released its most recent Stewards Minutes today. The report, covering February 25-March 3, lists three more “fatalities.” One we know is Eskenforadrink on March 2; the other two remain unidentified. Of greater significance is this: According to the stewards, this makes 25 dead racehorses at Santa Anita Park since Christmas, not the 21 total being widely disseminated in the media. Yes, I know that that 21 refers to racing/training kills, but what of the other four? Do the deaths of stabled-at-the-track, awaiting-next-race horses from things like colic and laminitis not count?

During the Civil War, roughly two-thirds of the 620,000 soldier deaths were from disease. Yet no one dares to draw a distinction. A dead soldier is a dead soldier is a dead soldier, and the Civil War killed every last one of them. Similarly, Racing is as responsible for the horses who die (usually painful and terrifying) colic deaths in the stall as it is for the ones who snap cannons out on the track. Casualties, all.

Santa Anita’s shame:

Dec 24-Dec 30, 1 dead
Dec 31-Jan 6, 2 dead
Jan 7-Jan 13, 2 dead
Jan 14-Jan 20, 3 dead
Jan 21-Jan 27, 5 dead
Jan 28-Feb 3, 2 dead
Feb 4-Feb 10, 1 dead
Feb 11-Feb 17, 1 dead
Feb 18-Feb 24, 4 dead
Feb 25-Mar 3, 3 dead
Let’s Light the Way, March 5


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  1. Absolutely unacceptable and astounding that The Stronach Group gets away with this.
    The only thing that surprises me is that they are STILL getting away with this lack of transparency like they were since 2005 – that I was aware of.
    So 14 years later nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed.
    I attribute this to many factors, but Rick Arthur is an apologist, sympathizer and was a racetrack vet so it seemed clear to me that he was put in his CHRB position to protect the industry not the racehorses.
    The meetings were and still are a sham with The Stronach Group seemed to working in tandem with the horseman’s groups to deny even the most basic changes for racehorses.
    Then all of the supporting groups would vote down any reasonable rules to protect horses.
    There’s no way that Santa Anita or any track in California should get away with not disclosing the names of racehorses dying on their tracks and the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
    They are back to business as usual and I sincerely hope that California residents don’t let them get away with this and shut them down.
    Thank-you Patrick for disclosing this shame.

  2. We can rightly blame the horse owners, the trainers, the jockeys, the vets, the racetracks, and everyone directly connected with the “sport” of horse racing for perpetuating this abysmal cruelty, but you know who is just as guilty of the abuse to these horses and who, in truth, REALLY keeps this “sport” alive? THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP COMING TO THE TRACKS TO BET ON THE HORSES. As long as there are enough of those people, the tracks will stay open. We can inform and educate, and that can certainly help, but as long as enough people continue to go to these tracks to keep the business lucrative, there is no incentive for tracks to close.

    The key to getting rid of ANY dismal, evil business is to impact its bottom line, and until that can happen, don’t expect much in the way of change. Money, sadly, matters to most people more than morals. They’ll only develop anything resembling morals when they can’t afford anything else.

    “When you have them by the balls (or the wallet) their hearts and mind soon follow.”

    • I agree with you on everything, but there are a few things that I would like to add.
      Tracks are not self-sustainable with merely the gamblers and haven’t been for a long time.
      It’s now the billions in casino profits and/or taxpayers money that is keeping tracks open.
      It’s commonly referred to as “coupling” and it ensures a certain number of race dates for the track in order for the casino to keep operating even though most casinos would like to see the track closed.
      The final approval comes from our local/state politicians who endorse these “coupling” contracts that diverts millions in casino profits, that are supposed to be going to community services, to support horse racing.
      They rarely hold public meetings or public consultation with the taxpayers and just push it through as recently seen in New Jersey.
      All the tracks in the following states would shut down if decoupling took effect: Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
      When Grey2K finally won their legal lawsuit to get “decoupling” on the voting ballot (the dog people fought this hard) the residents of those states made it abundantly clear that they didn’t want casino/taxpayer money going to support dog tracks and that will be the case for horse racing.

  3. I have horses and they run these animals when they are way too young. All these animals are is money to them. I myself don’t go to the horse races for that simple reason. Anyone who owns horses knows they are intelligent, emotional creatures and deserve better than what racing submits them to.

  4. More to THINK about : The doomed Thoroughbreds who are racing’s collateral damage—and that’s before you include the 750 who die on the track each year, an average of two fatal injuries per day according to the Jockey Club’s new equine injury database — For some reason, though, the media WON’T talk about this spectacular pile up of DEAD HORSES — They’re too busy covering the fun and investment side of racing, like partnerships and syndicates and tax deductions for yearlings — DEPRAVEDLY DESPICABLE industry — give me a moment, while I hurl.

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