A Kill at Fresno; California Racing Continues to Amass Dead Racehorses

From the most recent Stewards Minutes from “The Big Fresno Fair”: In the 2nd race last Saturday, Ought to Be Wanted “was euthanized due to a catastrophic injury.” He was six years old, and this was his 15th time under the whip.

California “SB-469” passed both chambers unanimously (118-0) and was signed into law by Governor Newsom on June 26. A direct result of Santa Anita’s most recent killing season (36 dead horses), the new law gives the California Horse Racing Board the authority to “at any time, immediately suspend a license to conduct a racing meeting when necessary to protect the health and safety of the horses or riders that are present at the racing meeting. The suspension shall remain in effect until the board determines that the matters jeopardizing the health and safety of the horses or riders…have been adequately addressed.” Well.

Since the June 26 enactment, this (23 dead racehorses):

No New Friends, killed racing at Pleasanton June 30
Sandra Smiles, killed training at Pleasanton July 7
yet-to-be-named filly, dead back in stall at Los Alamitos July 8-July 14
Charge a Bunch, killed training at Del Mar July 18
Carson Valley, killed training at Del Mar July 18
Cuervo Foose, killed racing at Los Alamitos July 20
Bowl of Soul, killed training at Del Mar July 29
Black Site, killed racing at Santa Rosa August 1
unidentified, dead back in stall at Del Mar July 31-August 4
It’s The Ice, killed racing at Santa Rosa August 8
unidentified, dead back in stall at Del Mar August 5-August 11
Bri Bri, killed training at Del Mar August 12
Always Checking, killed racing at Los Alamitos August 17
Bronco Brown, killed racing at Ferndale August 18
Mr. Frank, killed racing at Golden Gate August 18
Da One Two Special, killed racing at Los Alamitos September 1
Free Ricky, killed racing at Los Alamitos September 7
Eagle Screams, killed training at Golden Gate September 14
Zeke, killed training at Santa Anita September 16
Contratto, killed racing at Los Alamitos September 22
Emtech, killed racing at Santa Anita September 28
Ought to Be Wanted, killed racing at Fresno October 5
Ky. Colonel, killed training at Santa Anita October 5

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  1. It appears that the California Horse Racing Board is negligent in not taking action with the authority given to it under the SB-469.
    23 horses have died since this law came into effect and the CHRB seems to be ignoring this law and comes across as being above the law. They have the authority to act and do NOTHING which indicates that they show no respect whatsoever for the horses and jockeys, nor Governor Gavin Newsom, nor the SB-469.
    So it seems that the SB-469 is simply not worth the paper it’s written on.

    • Agreed, Carolyn. The CHRB has proven itself to be the most corrupt (non-)governing body in Cali politics. Time and again, they side with the abusers, instead of the abused.
      And, talk about toothless legislation! Gov. Newsom and the legislature expanded the CHRB’s powers to do what they’re absolutely NEVER going to do: shut down tracks to protect horses’ lives.
      The only upside to this legislation is that this non-action will further convince Cali voters to dismantle the CHRB.

      • My view is that the SB-469 has been poorly drafted. I also get the sense that Governor Newsom might have had faith that the CHRB would do the right thing.
        Today I read about Governor Newsom passing laws in relation to animals in circuses, banning the manufacture and sale of furs, banning the sale and importation of skins, etc. So I think his intentions were good in relation to the racehorses. Given the failure of the SB-469, perhaps the authority should be removed from the CHRB and the government use its powers to ensure the safety and welfare of the horses and jockeys. Duty of care.

    • Well stated. I hope my post didn’t indicate that I’m blaming the governor. He’s clearly as horrified by the Death Track as we are. Maybe WHEN the next horse death occurs, he’ll gently “suggest” that the CHRB actually do their jobs.

  2. Question for anyone who knows. Does California subsidize horse racing like most other states? Operating a track is a losing proposition, purses exceed takeout everywhere. Horse racing died in Michigan when the state refused to allow slots at tracks. One track left, it’s running it’s last meet because the property is worth more than the business. PA subsidized with about $20M per year, more than the dept of health gets. They can’t find schools but they can fund animal abuse. Go figure.

    • California can’t gain access to the casino profits because they legally belong to the Native Tribes.
      Thank goodness for that.
      They’ve tried to put their greedy killing fingers into the pie to no avail.
      That said, California taxpayers financially support horse racing via the CHRB and all of their supporting personnel such as the stewards, state vets, some security personnel.
      Then there’s the massive corporate welfare.
      When The Stronach Group (then operating under Magna Entertainment which subsequently wen’t bankrupt not paying their creditors);
      approached the California government to buy up and operate the tracks in California they received billions in opt-out corporate welfare and concessions – all paid for by taxpayers.
      The same old illusion of utopia, jobs, money, and of course the proverbial line we will take care of the racehorses like “family members.”
      Even though they seemed to have reneged on most of the deals promised to multiple state governments, the government still has in place the original massive corporate welfare that they continue to benefit from.
      Little to no government oversight, over these reneged deals, has ever been implemented from what I can see so California residents/taxpayers are paying a very high price to have horse racing in their state including environmental such as a massive waste of thousands of gallons of precious water just to keep their tracks moist.
      This going on while they are restricting California residents to water use.
      I think they even got opted out of paying their water bills, but I could be wrong.
      Of course the racehorses are paying the highest price.
      Incidentally, horse racing entities/individuals are a huge financial source for Republican coffers.

  3. So what will it take, one horse, two horses, one hundred horses for this new rule to take effect and shut these death tracks down?

    • These rules aren’t for the protection of the horses – they’re only created in the hopes of pacifying those of us condemning racing and to gives themselves a pious pat on the back that they’re “concerned about the welfare of their horses”. They have the authority to stop any race but have they ever stopped one? For extreme heat, sloppy track conditions, a horse in distress, anything that should necessitate the suspension of a race, because they truly do not care what happens to the horses as long as the blood money keeps coming in.

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