As Santa Anita readies to re-open this Friday, and the battle there resumes, I give you these truly remarkable and decidedly auspicious (for us) comments from a high-ranking racing official. In a recent interview with FoxLA, Rick Baedeker, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, said that the 26 dead racehorses at Santa Anita since Christmas and the ensuing media storm has been “a nightmare for everyone connected with Racing…and we can’t seem to wake up.” Then, in reference to Princess Lili B and her two broken legs (which the Fox affiliate caught) on March 14: “I don’t know what to tell you Hal…you just wonder if this dark cloud will ever lift.”
But it was toward the end of the interview that Baedeker broke, shockingly, with SRP (Standard Racing Propaganda) – you know, Racing will figure this out and come back stronger than ever – in answering the questions, “Is this possibly a Blackfish moment? Could that happen here?”: “It could. It could.” Then, when queried about the future of horseracing in California, Baedeker, in a stunning moment of raw, unfiltered candor, said: “Well, I think it’s at risk. I think it’s at risk.” Prompted to expound: “The voters authorized [it] back in 1933; they have the ultimate call.” Wow.
If ever there was a moment for unrelenting pressure on this vile industry, this is it. If you are in the LA area (or even thinking about taking a trip), please consider joining the Santa Anita protest this Friday. The horses need us – to stand for them, to speak for them, to save them. If unable, voice your protest in any number of other ways – signing petitions (Cal, NY), writing letters-to-editors, being active on social media, calling or emailing politicians, and simply talking to anyone and everyone you know. Horseracing is staggered and, as the above clearly shows, feeling ever so vulnerable. Let’s not waste this golden moment. Let’s press the thing.