Santa Anita Park: Breeders’ Cup switch possible after 29 horse deaths at the racecourse
Organisers of American flat racing’s Breeders’ Cup conference will discuss a possible switch of the 2019 fixture from Santa Anita, California, after a series of deadly injuries to horses.
Since the winter/spring fixture started at Christmas, 29 horses have lost their lives causing a call by the California Horse Racing Board to complete the existing season two weeks early.
No conclusive explanation for the deaths has been found, however, animal rights groups have required the track to be closed down.
Santa Anita’s owner, the Stronach Group, has actually declined the board’s demand.
It insists that current rule changes concerning pre-race medication and jockeys’ usage of their whips – which it says have actually resulted in a marked downturn in “devastating” mishaps – ought to be “translucent”.
Racing at Santa Anita is due to take a four-month break on 23 June prior to resuming in the autumn prior to the Breeders Cup’ global championships on 23 November.
It is believed a transfer to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, is being considered as the only location with enough permanent facilities to host the occasion at brief notice.
A declaration from the Stronach Group said it had actually introduced “wide-sweeping and efficient” reforms.
” We are jointly working on behalf of everyone in the sport – grooms, hot walkers, jockeys, workout riders, starters, trainers, owners, track supervisors and every horse using a bridle and a saddle – to reform and improve racing every day. After comprehensive consultation among all partners, Santa Anita Park will stay open through the end of its meet to see these reforms through.
” Track management, owners, trainers and veterinarians, are enhancing their vigilance and close guidance of both training and racing procedures and will consider all enhancements to the sweeping new procedures currently introduced.”