FAMED SANTA ANITA RACETRACK CLOSED

SANTA ANITA PARK

One of Thoroughbred Racings’ most famous venues has been closed after the deaths of more than 30 horses so far in 2019.  The governor of California has stepped in and authorized the suspension of operations at famed Santa Anita Park at Arcadia, California.

Santa Anita is one of the most popular thoroughbred racetracks in the country attracting thousands of fans to the race and millions of dollars in wagering every day that the ponies run. The old track is home to various prestigious races each year including the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap. The Breeder’s Cup Race has been run there many times.

Only a few weeks ago the owners of Santa Anita Park, The Stronach Group, decided to keep the facility open despite the mysterious loss of over 20 horses at the time. The situation has since gone from bad to worse. More horses have died and a Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has been suspended from the track after 4 of his horses died in the stables at the track.

What is strange is that no one seems to know what is going on.  What is killing the houses?  Surely not their trainer.  How could this be happening? Speculation ranges from some exotic virus in the soil to venom from a poison dart frog. Well equipped experts have so far not come up with an answer.

Thoroughbred Horse Racing in the state of California is supervised by the California Horse Racing Board which apparently had to go to Governor Gavin Newsome and the California State Senate to get authority to suspend the track license at Santa Anita Park “to protect the health and safety of horses and riders”.

Spokesperson for the Stronach Group, Tim Ritvo told the press, “In whole, we feel confident in the track and we’re just being very proactive.  We want to do all the testing that needs to be done.  When we believe we’re in good shape, we’ll start to train over again”.  One might ask why they were not a bit more proactive before the governor and the senate had to shut them down.

And this has been going on for awhile now.  Back in early March all thoroughbred racing was cancelled after the 21st horse died since December 18, 2018 and only resumed on towards April.

A myriad of tests were done on everything from the horses, to the feed and even the soil on the racetrack, but no specific conclusions were reached.  No one managed to figure it out and, after racing resumed, horses began to die again.  Now the proud old racetrack is closed down and lots of folks are out of work.

Next up on the agenda at Santa Anita Park will be the return of the Breeder’s Cup on September 27th.  At least that is what is scheduled.  Surely the Breeder’s Cup Board will take a very close look at Santa Anita Park before allowing their popular annual race to be run there again in 2019.

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