Last year, California enacted a law that 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…. The suspension shall remain in effect until the board determines that the matters jeopardizing the health and safety of the horses…have been adequately addressed.” It was, of course, a direct response to the Santa Anita Spring, at which, at the time, 36 horses lay dead. To date, this authority has yet to be exercised.
This year, Santa Anita’s neighbor, Los Alamitos, has claimed 29 lives. With pressure mounting, the CHRB held an emergency meeting Thursday, with the prospect of a shutdown (which surely would be only temporary) on the horizon. I mean, if 29 kills in a little over six months doesn’t set a threshold, what will? Well, Friday the CHRB decided to kick that question down the road. Los Al will remain open, but is on a 10-day probation during which it must come up with a “plan” to address the carnage. A “plan” – ‘twould be risible if not for the fact that horses are suffering and dying.
In defense of the track, Bob Baffert – yes, that Bob Baffert – told the Board Friday, “As a track surface, I consider it the best surface. Los Alamitos is sort of the standard of all track surfaces. That is the safest racing surface that I’ve trained on.”
Greg Avioli, president and CEO of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, concurred: “The TOC would support the continuation of training and racing at Los Alamitos.”
And Dr. Rick Arthur, the Board’s equine medical director: “I see no evidence that it’s a track surface problem. I do not believe that Los Alamitos is an unsafe track.”
“Best.” “The standard.” “Safest.” 20 – count them, 20 – killed racing or training on that surface (an additional 9 have perished back in their stalls). And now this track, on “probation,” working diligently on its “plan,” has probably claimed another. In the 6th yesterday, 2-year-old Alltime Favorite was, according to the chartwriter, “injured, vanned off.” As I’ve oft written, that description at that track almost always means dead. (I have reached out to the CHRB for confirmation. Nothing yet.)
So the question, California, is where do you go from here? If the ethics of animal use are to be taken seriously, if the phrase “animal cruelty” is to have any meaning, then you, as the nation’s leader on matters like these, must act now. End this madness.
Voice your outrage: Link this post. Cite data from this website. Tell them horseracing is animal cruelty; horseracing must end.
California state legislators
They are vile people who race horses to the point of injuries and fatalities and the routine abuse of the horseracing industry knows no boundaries. They all belong in a prison doing life without parole and some of these vile horse-killing incorrigibles should be on death row for the repeated and unforgivable acts of horrible cruelty and endless torture that they inflict on horses and it’s just business as usual to them. They have no moral compass.
Thank you for this post, Patrick. And now that Los Al has earned its rightful position in horse-killing news, it appears they’ve officially outdone themselves as World’s Worst Racing Creeps for human endangerment, too:
Flavien Prat just tested positive for COVID-19, and has been pulled off his mounts at Del Mar for this reason. He’s the FOURTH jockey to be infected so far — this week alone (!) — that recently rode at super-safe Los Alamitos. Rumors abounded that the always-pandemic-friendly track had their jockey colony packed together in violation of health protocols; now we have undeniable proof.
When is California going to finally shut this abomination down?!
As a country we are completely failing all horses. The BLM and the appropriations committee have evil plots again the wild mustangs, the racing “industry” = murder and if they survive the track possibly ending up in a kill pen or flown to Japan to be killed and eaten. Come on USA – horses are a symbol of freedom! stop killing them!
Why anybody would ask Bob Baffert about the condition of the track that his mentor and good friend operates is beyond ridiculous. The questions that should be asked are: 1. Veternarians checking health and soundness records before horses can be entered 2. Does the trainer have a history of horse injuries and deaths 3. If they do, are the owners willing to bear the responsibility of risking a suspension for horse injuries and or death. 4. If a horse is coming back from a layoff the horse has to have 2 scans and a workout between before he can enter. Make 1 man responsible for horse safety. And Tim Ritvo is the man. We all know that the reasons for horse breakdowns are the crappy trainer and risky training practices. Why don’t they ever ask questions about training practices and set standards? Because they don’t really want to change. They just want to appear to care. Disgusting louts. This is not over.
You hit the nail on the head Mary. They all just want to appear to care. But, they’re not FOOLING anyone!
Marymbaggaley, Bob Baffert is the epitome of the corruption and deception in horseracing. The commissioners and the owners of horses, racetracks and gambling interests (pari-mutuel wagering handle) protect Bob Baffert. It is evident that protecting horses is not their main concern. Rather they want to protect their “wealth machine” because it’s all about the money. Money first, horses second and lie like crazy to cover up their corporate corruption! Remember MONGOLIAN GROOM who had obvious “issues” and should not have been raced? The veterinarians were excused from their corruption and the racing Secretary could have “refused” the huge amount of $$$$$$$ as the entry fee for MONGOLIAN GROOM to enter the Breeders Cup race, but, no, it’s all about the money and the greed.
Wanda, the DEATH of Mongolian Groom was so EGREGIOUS, it’s BEYOND belief!!!!!!!!! How California got away with that murder 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬. Mongolian Groom was one of the most handsome horses. What was done to him was TRAGIC negligent homicide , 12 or more vets,and not one honored their OATH.
Stop this cruelty!! Greed fuels this abuse. Horses die everyday across this country for $2 bets!!
It is not the track surface that injures and kills horses- it’s the trainers over training the horses. This fact was clearly established in THE CHRB POST MORTEM STUDIES 1990-2018 WHICH INCLUDED AUTOPSIES OF OVER 7000 FATALLY INJURED YOUNG HORSES USED FOR RACING. It is Astonishingly stupid that The CHRB doesn’t require their licensed trainers to pass an exam proving that they are familiar with the results of this multi-million dollar study!
Gail Ruffu, what about the racing commissioners and racing Secretary that accepts these barbaric and sadistic acts of cruelty and torture against racehorses as “normal” or “business as usual” and continue to operate racing knowing full well what happens to the racehorses being trained and raced on the racetracks that they have responsibility to continue to operate and turn a profit for themselves, the tracks and the pari-mutuel wagering handle???? Would a test help? Who would give this test to the members of the California Horse Racing Board, the racing Secretary, the veterinarians and the pari-mutuel wagering operations staff???
BREAKING: Yes, it happened again. Couldn’t make this Los Alamitos Daily Bloodbath Horror-Shitshow up, even if I tried. Tacy broke down tonight in race 5, was pulled up and vanned off. And, yes, she was a thoroughbred. And, yes, she was running in another one of Los Al’s infamous “Mixed – Quarter Horses Preferred” races. Is she dead? Probably. Will the CHRB consider their genius little On-Probation-for-Horse-Killing experiment a success? Probably, as well.
I think I’m going to be sick.
Horses should not be ran at 2 yrs old. Where is the common sense.
Exactly, Shirley! This common denominator, in horseracing, of no common sense is why horseracing needs to be ended, banned!!!! They are not reforming anything.
This business is a cesspool of corruption, a nest full of parasites who are all collectively and solely responsible for killing racehorses.
Furthermore, as long as there are pro-horse racing individuals on the CHRB Board then nothing will change.
Reforms are merely a catch-word that will never stop the killings.
Shut it down.
The Senate Bill #469 is a mere formality as is the “Probation” of Los Alamitos race track. These “steps to reform” are not true reforms as you know. It’s all talk and nothing more than a mere formality to appease whoever. Horses continue to die at the hands of the people that run this horror show for pari-mutuel wagering handle and purse money from corporate welfare.
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