Santa Anita's winter-spring meet is the 'safest' on record

Santa Anita's winter-spring meet is the 'safest' on record
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Santa Anita Park concluded its six-month 2021-22 winter-spring season on June 19 as the safest track in North America among those with a comparable volume of racing and training.

Santa Anita Park’s record is highlighted by a 62.5 percent improvement from the previous year from Dec. 26, 2021, through closing day June 19, with three racing fatalities from over 4,800 starters. The main dirt track did not have a single musculoskeletal racing fatality during the 26-week period.

The overall racing and training figures mark a 74 percent improvement since the spring of 2019 when historic reforms to modernize the sport of Thoroughbred racing were instituted by 1/ST Racing, the California Horse Racing Board and industry stakeholders.

Santa Anita Park is home to one of the largest training facilities in the country, operating nearly year-round with over 375,000 training sessions per year.

“These results highlight the efforts of the entire racing community to put the safety of the horse above all else,” said Nate Newby, senior vice president and general manager of Santa Anita. “The diligence and dedication of the owners, trainers, jockeys veterinarians and the hardworking men and women who care for the horses each day are truly revolutionizing the sport. We are especially indebted to our Santa Anita Park track crew, led by veteran Dennis Moore, whose tireless efforts have been instrumental in this success story. None of the protocols, however, work without our horseplayers who have backed this transformation, and we are grateful for their continued support.”

The reforms, which have modernized the sport of Thoroughbred racing, were begun at Santa Anita and subsequently adopted by the CHRB. They make up the backbone of the new national standards that will be put in place by the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act, which goes into effect on July 1.

“Santa Anita Park veterinarians performed over 3,700 examinations prior to horses working at Santa Anita since Dec. 1,” said Dionne Benson, chief veterinary officer for 1/ST Racing. “We appreciate that this involves extra effort for our stakeholders, but this heightened scrutiny has allowed for additional opportunities to work with everyone for the best interest of the horse.”

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