Yesterday, the LA Times Editorial Board weighed-in (again) on Santa Anita, calling (again) for the track to shut it down. Fine, but its reasoning is terribly flawed, its outrage (“we’re appalled”) unforgivably overdue.
Santa Anita should close, says the Board, until “an investigation into the mysterious spate of deaths that has bedeviled the track” is complete. “It’s reckless,” they say, “to keep racing before the park has all the information it needs.” Okay, here we go again. Going back to 2007, Santa Anita has averaged 50 dead horses annually. 50. 48 died there just last year. We’re currently at 35 (yes, it’s 35, not 29). No “spate,” no “spike” – in fact, right on schedule. To that, where was this rebuke back in 2018? 2015? 2007? Ever? And what, pray tell, about Los Alamitos’ 257 dead horses the past five years, or Golden Gate’s 180? Or California’s over 5,000 since 1998? If Santa Anita “should not risk any more horses’ lives” by continuing to race, shouldn’t those other tracks (because dead horses are a guarantee) close too?
As to the “mysterious” nature, the Board would do well to read some of the highlights from the already-in 2018 necropsies. No mystery here.
Still, the Board got one thing right. At the end, it says, “Over time, Americans have to decide how much death they are willing to tolerate in this ancient sport.” Indeed, how many, America? How many?