The latest of the 22 horses that have died since Christmas was named Princess Lili B a 3-year-old filly that suffered a catastrophic injury during a morning workout and had to be put down.
This is an alarming amount of horses that have been put down or died since Christmas and it prompted owners of Santa Anita Park, Stonarch Group to suspend racing at the track and its sister track Golden Gate Fields.
Belinda Stonarch Chairman and President of Stonarch Group had this to say, “The Company will ban all medications on days they were supposed to race”. Stonarch also said that by doing so they would be the first major track in North America to comply with the IFHA (International Federation of Horseracing Authorities).
In addition, they would also strictly limit use of whips to be a safety corrective measure only not to spur the horse to run faster.
What needs to be done
While the above steps are a good measure into correcting the issue the bottom line is that 22 horses have died since Christmas and for horse racing fans like myself that is 22 too many. I am in no way a member or supporter of PETA, but 22 horses dying in a little over three months is not acceptable.
There needs to be some accountability for this and I hope that the company who owns these tracks will look further into this.
The Future of Horse Racing
What’s interesting in all of this is how the changes will be accepted in the Horse Racing World. Stonarch Group owns other tracks including Pimlico where the second leg of the Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes is held.
The statement made by Belinda Stonarch did not address what changes if any would be made at those tracks. Racing has not yet resumed at Santa Anita Park yet but timed workouts ahead of the March 22nd reopening date have begun.