LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) —There have been 30 horse deaths in less than a year at Santa Anita, but Breeders’ Cup CEO and President Craig Fravel says he remains confident the race track will make sure November’s “Super Bowl of Horse Racing” is a safe one.

“Look, none of us feel good about what happened.” Fravel told CBS2 Sports Director Jim Hill in a sit-down interview Tuesday. “I know there were people at Santa Anita who were devastated by what was going on, scratching their head at times wondering how to address it. But at the end of the day, they took all the right moves, very aggressive actions in terms of reforms, in terms of medication, veterinary exams, and they cut the injury rate dramatically low. I think at this point in time it’s probably one of the safest race tracks in America.”

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Fravel says the Breeders’ Cup organization has done its due diligence looking into the safety of the track:  “We spent a lot of time talking to management there, to Dennis Moore, who’s the track superintendent. We have a lot of confidence in people doing the right things and making the right decisions and we’re sure that’s going to continue through the Breeders’ Cup.”

There have been 30 horse fatalities at the track since late December and 66 dating back to the 2018 season.

Racing at Santa Anita was temporarily suspended in February following the 19th horse death — and again for most of March following the 21st horse death — so experts could conduct testing on the park’s three tracks to try and pinpoint the issue. None of the horse deaths have occurred on the training track.

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Last month Governor Gavin Newsom called on Santa Anita to suspend racing until the cause of the deaths has been thoroughly investigated.

Fravel notes that politicians are “certainly welcome to have their input and opinions,” but hopes the impact of closing the track on the people working there is taken into consideration.

“The people who work at the race track love their jobs,” he said. “They’re committed to it. They’re very dedicated people and I think they deserve to be considered in the mix of all of this too.”

 

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