fbpx Santa Anita Park touts low racing deaths in '23-24; 12 horses die training
The Votes Are In!
2023 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
View Winners →
Vote for your favorite business!
2024 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
Start voting →
Subscribeto our newsletter to stay informed
  • Enter your phone number to be notified if you win
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / Santa Anita Park touts low racing deaths in ’23-24; 12 horses die training

Santa Anita Park touts low racing deaths in ’23-24; 12 horses die training

by Joe Taglieri
share with

Santa Anita Park officials announced Monday that with the concussion of fall and winter-spring competition, the Arcadia track has achieved a 99.97% racing safety record for horses, ranking it as the safest track of similar size and racing volume in North America.

The six-month winter-spring meet concluded on Sunday, and combined with the six-week fall meet that started in late September, 6,678 horses raced on Santa Anita’s main track and turf course with two fatalities, according to the track and California Horse Racing Board data.

Another 12 horses died while training at Santa Anita during the 2023-24 racing season, suffering either musculoskeletal or non-musculoskeletal injuries, according to the CHRB. Nine horses died at Santa Anita during the same period from causes listed as “other.”

Throughout each year, Santa Anita hosts on average more than 375,000 training sessions, track officials said.

“It is impossible to overstate the diligence that the entire racing community has put into prioritizing the safety of the horse above all else,” Nate Newby, senior vice president and general manager of Santa Anita Park, said in a statement. “From the owners, trainers, jockeys, veterinarians and the hardworking men and women who care for the horses each day, everyone has done their part to make safety our North Star.

“Winter is always a challenge with weather, and we have a tremendous Santa Anita Park track crew, led by veteran Dennis Moore, whose tireless efforts and countless long days were vitally important,” Newby said. “We are grateful to the CHRB for their unwavering leadership in placing the welfare of the horse first, and especially to our horseplayers, who continue to support Santa Anita Park which enable all of us to continue these industry-leading efforts.”

Santa Anita officials have lauded improving horse safety as reflected by decreasing annual numbers of fatalities since 2019, when at least 42 horses died at the track. The horse deaths initiated widespread debate about safety issues at Santa Anita and horse racing in general.

“Santa Anita Park veterinarians performed nearly 6,400 examinations prior to horses working at Santa Anita since Sept. 1 of last year,” Dionne Benson, chief veterinary officer for 1/ST Racing, the subsidiary of The Stronach Group that manages the track, said in a statement.

“The heightened scrutiny has allowed for additional opportunities for everyone to work for the best interest of the horse,” Benson said. “We are pleased that since HISA adopted many of the Santa Anita Park and California protocols in the last year, the overall safety of the sport has improved throughout the country.”

Despite Santa Anita’s recent safety improvements, animal-rights advocates have continued to call for an end to horse racing, as horse deaths continue at tracks throughout the U.S.

“No legitimate sport would tolerate the deaths of 13 of its athletes in 23 weeks of competition at 1 venue … which is the same # of deaths there in the same time period in 2023,” the group Kill Racing Not Horses said Monday in a social media post.

Santa Anita had 12 racing and training deaths in 2022, and 17 horses died at the track in 2023, according to CHRB records.

Racing resumes at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 27 for the five-week 2024 Autumn Meet with the inaugural California Crown event.

Updated June 18, 2024, 2:01 p.m.

More from Arcadia Weekly

Skip to content