US racetrack Santa Anita - horse deaths

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Can anyone shed any light on what is actually going on there? Is it really as simple as just too much rain on a dirt track?
 

popsdosh

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Dirt tracks and rain are the worse you can get, hence none in UK as we dont have the climate for them. Theyu are not used to rain out there.
 

hobo

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Yes I think they have been caught out by how much rain they have had this winter. My sister lives in CA and though she knows that rain is always needed she is fed up with it.
 

hopscotch bandit

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Can anyone shed any light on what is actually going on there? Is it really as simple as just too much rain on a dirt track?
We lose an average of 2.3 horses every day in the UK according to statistics but those statistics covers over 80 plus racetracks, so the Santa Anita thing is very strange. I would have thought that out of 19 horses not all of them died as a result of injury, I would have thought that some would have died from heart attack so the figures may actually be less than that. But it is still a huge amount of horses to lose and it looks like they are taking investigative measures . In the United States, there are 1.5 fatal accidents for every 1,000 starts and in Britain according to the AHT the rate is 0.65 per 1,000 starts.

At Santa Anita they have also brought in a ban on medication on race days (thought that would be a given tbh) and they are banning the use of whips during the race.

Also its my understanding that horses tend to break down on uneven surfaces. By that I mean a track surface which is varied in its consistency, i.e wet in places, dry in others so maybe they need to look at their watering system. Or maybe as others have said its due to too much rainfall.
 

ester

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HB re. stats you need to remember that our horses only go to the track to race. Horses are kept and trained at the San Anita track, so some are breaking down doing relatively slow work/not racing.

I do wonder why they stick with the dirt so much, I don't know if it's just what people are used to that it's downfalls are more accepted?

The letter they released clarifies the meds situation
https://www.santaanita.com/press-re...oroughbred-racing-in-california/#.XIttyLinycx
 

hopscotch bandit

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HB re. stats you need to remember that our horses only go to the track to race. Horses are kept and trained at the San Anita track, so some are breaking down doing relatively slow work/not racing.
Thanks for clarifying that Ester, I didn't realise that was the case.
 

ester

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someone put a nice easy summary on chrono of the horse. on the 4th March so not totally up to date but interesting.

https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/...-santa-anita-do-you-think-somethings-up/page2

12 fatalities during racing; 7 on the main track and 5 on turf.
8 fatalities during training, one of which was 'sudden death' by CHRB (not related to musculoskeletal)
None of the fatalities have occurred on the training track.

I think +1 on the 5th on the main track - catastrophic injury
+1 yesterday also on the main (improved) track

1800 horses based there.
 
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I posted this thread after the 22nd horse broke down at the track.



https://www.paulickreport.com/news/...ing-at-santa-anita-22nd-fatality-at-the-meet/

Afleet fan • 9 hours ago
I’ve seen break downs up close and personal, sadly. But seeing the video of this poor filly standing calmly on her 2 stumps for front legs, waiting to be put down, brought tears to my eyes and it will be something I’ll bever forget again. Poor sweet little girl.
The forum I'm on with US members makes me feel very uncomfortable (as a non American) when discussing animal welfare, so I'd thought I'd ask here.

I also have an ex jockey acquaintance who has always criticized the amount of drugs that US racehorses are given before racing. Again I don't feel that it can be discussed in a calm manner on the US forum. Could these drugs be contributing to the issue?
 

ester

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Absolutely, I suspect it's a combination of the medical and surface side. A bit perfect storm.

It's interesting that the relatively low No. over here is mentioned, but our way of keeping/training/racing is so different it's going to be very hard to narrow down why.
 
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Yes. The racehorses where I used to live were hacked along the roads to the gallops (which were undulating), trained and then hacked back to the stables. How many US racehorses hack to their gallops? Do they normally have flat gallops in the US?

There are lots of little things that could add up to a tiny difference here and a tiny difference there.
 

ester

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I don't think any do, they go out on the track then passed to a hot walker.

Did you see the video of aiden o'brians out there, and how baffling they found the concept of a 'string'? It was really interesting.
 

EKW

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I saw the Aiden O'Brien video - its on youtube under his breeders cup string. I will see if I can find the link in a minute. He had nearly 30 horses out for a jog. All jogging either next to one of by itself but all within a couple of lengths of each other. He explained that he figured out the herd mentality and the braver/not fussed horses that liked being up front went and set the pace, those that didnt like being penned in didnt have a partner, those that need company got a pal, those that needed plenty of cover got buried deep in the pack etc. They had 4 or 5 ponies accompanying them. Just jogging round the outside of the track whilst other horses worked the inner. All riders leg long but standing up out of the saddle for every step of the way. Horses all very relaxed and happy.
 

EKW

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Also did you see the last race of the day on Friday at Cheltenham?

Mount Mews planted at the start and refused to race. So yeah! We are really forcing half a tonne of adrenaline fueled muscle with a brain of its own to race against it's will! Mad Moose, Battlegroup and KingJonsCastle are 3 others that point blank refused to set off with everyone else at big meetings and made the headlines. Along with plenty of others on a normal days racing that say enough is enough.
 

hopscotch bandit

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I posted this thread after the 22nd horse broke down at the track.



https://www.paulickreport.com/news/...ing-at-santa-anita-22nd-fatality-at-the-meet/



The forum I'm on with US members makes me feel very uncomfortable (as a non American) when discussing animal welfare, so I'd thought I'd ask here.

I also have an ex jockey acquaintance who has always criticized the amount of drugs that US racehorses are given before racing. Again I don't feel that it can be discussed in a calm manner on the US forum. Could these drugs be contributing to the issue?
The fact is that this horse had raced as a 2 year old in Feb and she was 3 years and 3 days old when she lost her life. Its tragic, most horses of that age haven't even seen a saddle, let alone been ridden for a few months. It was her 2nd race. In our country most sensible people don't start backing horses until they are in their 4th year as there has been so much research into growth plates and the detrimental effect that backing horses and doing to much can have, especially in later life. But the sad fact of the matter is that racehorses are seen as commodities to be exploited for monetary gain. No one thinks of the welfare, nobody cares that that poor filly was sat pathetically on her stumps waiting to be PTS. No one there cared. When that one's gone there will be another replacement waiting in the wings. Another innocent trusting life. Makes me cry, it honestly does.
 

ycbm

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as there has been so much research into growth plates and the detrimental effect that backing horses and doing to much can have, especially in later life.
HB, I don't think there has. I've never seen any.
 

Ambers Echo

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There is Deb Bennet's research that was posted on the Sir Erec thread. But not sure what else. I would be interested to see it if you have any links HB as I think the one positive change that is easy (if expensive) is to raise the age horses can race.
 

ycbm

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There is Deb Bennet's research that was posted on the Sir Erec thread. But not sure what else. I would be interested to see it if you have any links HB as I think the one positive change that is easy (if expensive) is to raise the age horses can race.
That's not research into outcomes later in life, though, I don't think? That's the stuff we are all waiting for, what age is the right age to back for a long working life.
 

Ambers Echo

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No it isn't you're right. It is just looking at the developing musculo-skeletal system and making educated guesses about the impact of full racing and training on yearlings/2 year olds based on knowledge of those processes. But those educated guesses need backing up with evidence. I keep reading references to 'research' but as was pointed out on the other thread no-one ever seems to be able to provide the links to original research.
 

Goldenstar

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There’s an FEI ban on Tilden etc coming thy have no idea what the withdrawal period will be so they have announced it a year in advance .
 
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Apparently it potentially has a very long half life (actual figure not yet known I think), so the withdrawal period could end up being very long indeed.
 
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I'm sure I read somewhere (possibly on chronicle of the horse forum) that a horse that had been given it took 14 months approx to not fully heal a fracture that should have taken two months to heal. It really does seem to compromise the bone healing process for a long time. I'm sure that an old, retired horse with osteoarthritis gets a benefit from it that outweighs the negative... but for a working horse?
 
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