Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert addressed the recent spate of equine deaths at Santa Anita Park during an NTRA teleconference on Tuesday. Though none of the 23 fatalities were horses he trained, Baffert recognizes the serious nature of the national media coverage at Santa Anita.
“The negative publicity, I'm very concerned about that,” said Baffert. “(PETA) doesn't know how it really works here … and they don't know how we take care of these horses and the employees and the families. There are a lot of jobs. They've never wanted horse racing, but my job is not to worry about them. I'm worried about these horses.”
Baffert said he wouldn't hesitate to send his horses out on the track at Santa Anita, and the trainer has several star runners set to contest major races there on Saturday: McKinzie in the Santa Anita Handicap, and Game Winner and Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby.
“If I thought there was danger out there, I wouldn't even bring my horses out there,” said Baffert. “These horses, they're not our livelihood, they're our way of life. There are a lot of people back here that are employees, and we have to make this work. I worry about the families and everything else. Racing needs to do well.”
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