Santa Anita Park Sees 20 Deadly Breakdowns in Two Months Following Historic Rainfall
It’s the West Coast Cathedral of racing, as Belmont is to the East Coast and Churchill Downs is to Kentucky.
It has hosted racing legends historic and up to date, female and male, from Seabiscuit to California Chrome and Azeri to Zenyatta, since its opening Christmas Day, 1934.
It can host the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Nov. 1–2 for a report tenth time. Tiznow gained a second consecutive Breeders’ Cup Traditional right here in 2001 to assist restore hope and buoy a nation in disaster within the wake of the terrorist assaults on the World Commerce Towers two months earlier.
Now, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, self-billed as “The Nice Race Place,” is itself in disaster.
On Saturday, the 20th horse in solely two months suffered a catastrophic breakdown on the iconic racing venue. 4-year-old filly Eskenforadrink suffered deadly accidents throughout a $16,000 claiming race on a mud monitor listed as “sloppy.”
This newest fatality comes after two weeks of intense scrutiny concerning the monitor that started with the euthanization of six-year-old Champion Battle of Halfway after he shattered his hind pastern throughout coaching on Feb. 23. That occasion was made extra upsetting by the very fact the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filth Mile-winning son of Good Strike was introduced again from retirement following discovery that he was sub-fertile as a sire at WinStar Farm throughout 2018. He efficiently bred with solely 5 of 60 mares. Satirically, the final of these foals, a colt, was born the day after his deadly breakdown.
Throughout the identical Feb. 23 coaching session, one other horse suffered a deadly breakdown.
Deadly occasions have occurred on each the monitor’s dust and turf surfaces following a interval of intense and weird rainfall, almost 12 inches through the time of the fatalities, with extra rain predicted for the early a part of this week.
5 fatalities have occurred on the turf monitor whereas coaching, eight whereas coaching on the dust monitor and 7 throughout racing on the dust monitor. That is roughly double the variety of fatalities suffered throughout the identical interval final 12 months.
The setting is attractive however the Santa Anita floor is a priority. ©Richard Gross
“One demise is just too many,” mentioned Tim Ritvo, chief working officer of the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita. “We’re going to take a look at all of the circumstances. Climate is an enormous issue. It doesn’t matter if it’s Battle of Halfway or a first-time starter, that is simply such an unlucky circumstance.”
The fatalities and the bizarre climate situations prompted Santa Anita officers to shut the monitor for coaching early final week to conduct soil testing of the surfaces by College of Kentucky soil professional Mick Peterson. Discovered to be “100% prepared,” the monitor was reopened for each coaching and racing.
Saturday’s fatality renews the priority.
This Thursday’s race schedule was cancelled Sunday in anticipation of extra heavy rainfall by way of Wednesday. These races will grow to be a part of an 11-race card scheduled for Friday and hoped-for higher climate. The monitor will stay open each day for coaching, nonetheless.
The priority is sophisticated by the truth that Santa Anita is the house coaching and race monitor to elite trainers and horses, together with Corridor of Fame coach Bob Baffert. He presently has two-year-old Male Eclipse Award Champion and early Kentucky Derby favourite Sport Winner in coaching right here together with Kentucky Derby hopefuls Roadster and Inconceivable, and Kentucky Oaks hopeful Chasing Yesterday. Baffert horses participated in coaching and racing for the reason that monitor reopening and over the previous weekend with Roadster successful an allowance race.
Corridor of Fame Coach Bob Baffert presently stables a number of Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls at Santa Anita. ©Richard Gross
Santa Anita isn’t any newer to controversy than to historical past. In 2012, HBO cancelled the approaching second season of the drama collection “Luck” for what it termed “security issues” after a 3rd horse died throughout manufacturing of the horseracing-cum-gambling dramatic collection. Horses had been fatally injured throughout filming for the pilot episode, in addition to for the seventh episode within the collection’ first season.
The critically acclaimed drama was a car for high-profile stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, in addition to for then-prematurely retired jockey Gary Stevens and fashionable feminine rider Chantal Sutherland. On the time, Hoffman attributed the collection’ cancellation to the PETA (Individuals for the Moral Therapy of Animals) protests that adopted the third horse fatality.
Santa Anita switched again to a mud floor in 2010 from its earlier Professional-Experience artificial floor. The set up of artificial surfaces had been mandated by the California Horse Racing Board in 2006 at a value of $40 million as a result of they had been thought it’s safer for horses. This was not the case at Santa Anita, the place an uncommon variety of deadly breakdowns on its artificial floor prompted the return to pure dust.
For the reason that current fatalities have occurred on each the dust and turf surfaces, the bizarre rainfall is considered a major contributing issue to the monitor’s present issues. Del Mar, in San Diego, put in artificial Polytrack in 2007 however reverted to dust in 2015, ending California’s experiment with artificial racing surfaces.
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