SANTA ANITA (CBSLA) — Santa Anita Park is under unprecedented scrutiny over continued safety concerns and a mounting death toll of horses.
On Saturday, Emtech, a 3-year-old colt, was the latest horse euthanized.
Emtech fractured two front limbs during the eighth race. It was the 32nd fatality at the track since December 26.
It was the second day of the current horse racing season.
Santa Anita officials have pledged to address any factors that could have prevented Emtech from being euthanized and vowed to make the safety of horses and riders a top priority.
But as CBS2/KCA9 reporter Greg Mills found out Sunday, anti-racing activists don’t think that is enough.
They want horse racing stopped – period.
There was a small but vocal anti-racing group outside the track Sunday.
“I even had reservations about coming out today because of yesterday’s incident,” said one race fan.
Scott Casey, a horse racing fan since 1970, said the Emtech accident was hard to watch.
“You could’ve heard a pin drop. Nobody wants to see a horse go down. Nobody,” says Casey.
Steve Jansen said, “across the county, they’ve had more break downs here. You can’t take 10 of your top tracks and not have this many.”
Actually, Mills found one track with more.
A group called Horse Racing Wrongs keeps track of such numbers. In Florida, one track had 34 horse deaths in 2019
“These trainers and the people who work for Santa Anita,” says Casey, “They treat these horses just like their own h kids.”
In a statement Sunday, Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinarian for Santa Anita, wrote:
“As is protocol at Santa Anita, we will open an immediate review into what factors could have contributed to Emtech’s injury. Santa Anita will work closely with the California Horse Racing Board and will continue to brief our stakeholders and all of our constituents, including the public, as more facts come in. Emtech will undergo a necropsy at the University of California – Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine, as is mandatory for all on-track accidents. The accident and the necropsy report will be reviewed by a team to learn what, if anything, could have been done to have prevented the accident.”