PETA wants California Governor Newsom to launch investigation
By Terry Miller
Animal rights activists are now calling on California Governor Gavin Newsom to get involved after yet another racehorse died at Santa Anita race track Sunday in Arcadia, just three days after the racetrack reopened following the unprecedented deaths of 22 thoroughbred horses.
The track reopened Friday, March 29 after The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) gave the Park the green light after a very difficult couple of months at Santa Anita caused the track to close for racing and training post the tragic deaths of 22 horses since Dec. 26, 2018.
In a written statement from Santa Antia Park on March 31, “Arms Runner sustained a fatal injury during the San Simeon Stakes Sunday. He was racing over the 6 ½ furlong hillside turf course this afternoon when at the dirt crossing, when he fell and collided with another horse, La Sardane. La Sardane, was walked back to her barn under her own power with no reported injuries. Both jockeys, Martin Pedroza, who rode Arms Runner and Ruben Fuentes, who rode La Sardane, were examined by on-site medical experts and released from First Aid.
“This is a gut-wrenching blow to everyone in racing, but our thoughts are with the connections of Arms Runner. The horse was trained by Peter Miller at San Luis Rey for Rockingham Ranch. The 5-year-old gelding had won his last race on Jan. 27 over the same downhill turf course.
“While this incident happened during competition on a track that has been deemed by independent experts to be safe, it speaks to the larger issue of doing all that we can to better understand and prevent such catastrophic injuries, not only at Santa Anita , but throughout California and across the country. International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) standards were unanimously adopted by the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday. We urge other racing venues in California to adopt the IFHA standards immediately. Together we can create higher standards and protocols across the board at all California racing and training venues.”
Arms Runner is the 23rd horse to die at the racetrack since the start of the season on Dec. 26, 2018.
PETA issued the following after witnessing a video of the incident Sunday:
“This sickening video of Arms Runner in the last minutes of his life shows exactly why PETA is calling on Governor Newsom to form an independent panel to investigate training and veterinary practices in California. While the implementation of new rules at Santa Anita racetrack last week represented the first progress in racing reform in decades, it was nowhere near enough to save these horses’ lives. The CHRB needs to pass emergency rules right now banning all drugs and banishing all trainers with medication violations from California tracks. Anything short of this is inadequate.”
Last Thursday, Santa Anita, with the CHRB, announced ground breaking reforms within the sport. They include:
- Completely overhauling the Medication Policy:
- Strict limitations on the use of any pain or anti-inflammatory medication and treatment, including legal therapeutic NSAIDS, joint injections, shockwave therapy, and anabolic steroids.
- A reduction of race-day use of the diuretic Furosemide (Lasix) to a maximum of 50% of the current level.
- A complete phasing out of all race-day medication (including Lasix) starting with the foal crop of 2018.
- Ensuring Veterinary Oversight & Enhancing Safety Protocols:
- No therapeutic medications or treatments will be allowed without a qualified veterinary diagnosis from a state licensed veterinarian.
- Use of the riding crop is now subject to the strictest rules at any major jurisdiction in the world. This is already in place for training and will be enacted during racing following normal regulation procedure.
- Complete transparency of all veterinary records.
- Significant and strict out-of-competition testing.
- Trainers must apply for permission to work a horse (a timed, high-speed training exercise) at least 48 hours in advance.
- Horses are now required to be on-site for an increased length of time prior to a race.
- Substantial investment by The Stronach Group in diagnostic equipment to aid in the early detection of pre-existing conditions.