(The following story was updated to include a joint statement from The Stronach Group, Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers.)
A 28th horse died after racing at Santa Anita's meet Saturday, prompting the California Horse Racing Board to request the track end its meet early, according to the Los Angeles Times. The track rejected that request, citing feedback from industry stakeholders. Formal Dude, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Phil D'Amato, pulled up while running in a claiming race Saturday. Reports indicate the horse was later diagnosed with a pelvic fracture and was subsequently euthanized.
(Read more about pelvic fractures here.)
On Sunday, Truffalino, a 3-year-old filly trained by Richard Mandella, collapsed after the conclusion of an allowance race, becoming the 29th racing or training fatality since the start of the current meeting Dec. 26. Mandella told the Daily Racing Form's Brad Free it appeared she died of a heart attack and had no musculoskeletal injuries.
The CHRB's request would have suspended the remaining seven days of racing at Santa Anita, while allowing the track to remain open for training. Under the current law, the commission cannot force a track to suspend its meeting.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Breeders' Cup will meet at the end of June to discuss whether to move forward with the event at Santa Anita.
On Sunday night, The Stronach Group, Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers issued a joint statement:
“We are collectively working on behalf of everyone in the sport — grooms, hot walkers, jockeys, exercise riders, starters, trainers, owners, track managers and every horse wearing a bridle and a saddle — to reform and improve racing every day. After extensive consultation among all partners, Santa Anita Park will stay open through the end of its meet to see these reforms through.
“Since wide-sweeping reforms have been instituted at Santa Anita, catastrophic injuries have dropped considerably compared to earlier this meet, decreasing by 50 percent in racing and by more than 84 percent in training. To be clear, there are no acceptable losses, and every day we work toward ending all serious injuries. But the reality is that our improvements and changes have been effective.
“A detailed and serious epidemiological investigation of all track accidents is underway and will continue with the greatest urgency. Track management, owners, trainers and veterinarians, are re-doubling their vigilance and close supervision of both training and racing protocols and will consider all enhancements to the sweeping new protocols already introduced. We have great respect for Governor Newsom and the CHRB, and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to discuss these issues.”
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