So why did 21 horses die in such a short time?
Rick Arthur, director of the equestrian health care agency of the state of California, pointed to a number of factors: heavy rainfall, exhausted horse numbers and impatience of coaches and race officials. when making the most of the remaining horses.
Heavy rains make it difficult to maintain the track, especially when leveling the ground to avoid puddles of water from seeping into the surface of the track. Imagine just how fragile racing horses with ankles just as slim as a bottle of Coke must move constantly on a poor-quality track.
The traditional California race track was closed on February 26 and 27 after the Breeders Dirt Cup Mile 2017 champion – Midway Naval Battle, was seriously injured during training. A race safety expert from the University of Kentucky – Mick Peterson, was brought to the scene to look for anomalies to explain the sudden increase in deaths.
Although could not find anything out of the ordinary. However, shortly after opening the door again, the racing horse Eskenforadrink became the 20th death, injured in a race and then freed by death.
Statistically, at least, coaches in California seem to be more demanding of their horses. Santa Anita’s horse racing currently has an average of 3.02 exercises per start, compared to 0.88 for the horses at Gulfstream Park in Florida and 0.42 at the Aqueduct in New York, according to Equibase horse racing news site.
Health expert Rick Arthur believes that the rules and vigilance of the authorities can be followed during the morning training hours, when 9 of the deaths occur at this time. When a horse is about to enter a race, it will be tested by a veterinarian for medical conditions and drug testing.
When Santa Anita officials try to figure out why their race is so dangerous, they will also have to deal with public opinion. Animal rights activists have conducted protests outside the racetrack, even animal rights advocacy organization PETA has called on California Governor Gavin Newsom to close the racetrack and ask lawyers in Los Angeles. Angeles launched an investigation into the use of drugs to conceal horse racing injuries.