On Saturday, a 4-year-old gelding named Formal Dude was euthanized after injuring itself during a race at Santa Anita Park. Formal Dude was the 28th horse to die from racing or training at the beleaguered track since December.
At that point, the California Horse Racing Board had had enough, and it took the extraordinary step of asking Santa Anita to suspend racing for the few days remaining in this season at the park.
But Santa Anita's owners refused, and on Sunday the racing continued. That's when a 3-year-old filly, Truffalino, collapsed and died just after the jockey pulled the horse out of a race. Truffalino became the 29th fatality of the season.
Frankly, we're appalled. There have now been numerous calls for the Stronach Group, which owns the Santa Anita track, to suspend racing--from animal welfare groups to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), among others.
All have urged the park to wait for the results from the official necropsies on these horses and an investigation into the mysterious spate of deaths that has bedeviled the Santa Anita track all year. It's reckless enough to keep racing before the park has all the information it needs. But it's disdainful and arrogant to do it in defiance of the state horse racing regulators.
It's time to give the racing board the authority to compel a suspension. State Senate Bill 469 would, among other things, allow the board to suspend a track's license to conduct horse racing when necessary to protect the health and safety of horses or riders. The bill should be approved.
Why have we seen multiple deaths in a few weeks' time?
Over time, Americans have to decide how much death they are willing to tolerate in this ancient sport. More immediately, though, the owners of the track at Santa Anita have to face up to the troubling, unexplained deaths that have occurred this past year. And they should not risk any more horses' lives for the rest of this season.
Editorial on 06/12/2019
Print Headline: Stop the slaughter