Horse death toll rises at Santa Anita | Inquirer Sports

Horse death toll rises at Santa Anita

/ 04:47 PM May 27, 2019

Santa Anita horse

Horses race at the Santa Anita Racetrack as controversy continues over the high number of horse deaths at the track in Arcadia, California on May 26, 2019. – Santa Anita Park averaged more than 55 horse deaths per year from 2008-18, according to data from the California Horse Racing Board, a total of 553 deaths in all, but this year’s major rise in deaths is under investigation. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP)

A third horse has died in nine days at Santa Anita Park, bringing the equine death toll at the Southern California track to 26 since December 26.

Track officials confirmed that 9-year-old gelding Kochees was euthanized on Sunday, a day after suffering a leg injury in a $10,000 claiming race.


Mike Willman, Santa Anita’s director of publicity, confirmed that surgeons determined the animal couldn’t be saved because of loss of blood flow to the injured limb.


The three deaths in nine days follow nearly six weeks without a fatality at the scenic race track northeast of Los Angeles.

But 26 horses have died in either racing or training since the current race meeting opened on December 26.

The fatalities sparked protests from animal rights activists and resulted in extensive tests of the surface and subsurface of the dirt track — which found no apparent cause for the increase in breakdowns.

The Stronach Group, owners of Santa Anita and other tracks around the country, has proposed changes to promote horse welfare including a reduction in race-day administration of medications and the elimination of the use of riding crops except to ensure safety.

Stronach officials, including president and chief executive Belinda Stronach, wanted to extend the reforms to their facilities in other states as well, but have encountered resistance from some working in the racing industry.

Santa Anita is slated to stage this year’s Breeders’ Cup on November 1-2.

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TAGS: horse, Horse Racing, Santa Anita

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