Santa Anita Abruptly Shuts Downs. FL Derby Still a Go Tomorrow

Source:  Santa Anita

March 27, 2020

In accordance with instructions received from Los Angeles County Health Department, Santa Anita Park will temporarily close for live racing effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Santa AnitaWe apologize for the late notice affecting today’s racing program, but Santa Anita is abiding by the instructions issued this morning by the California Horse Racing Board to operate under the sanction of the local health authorities.

At Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community is our top priority. At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Santa Anita Park. This measure is being taken in response to a mandate from LA County officials.

At Santa Anita Park, there are over 1,700 horses stabled who require daily care. That care is provided by the 750 backstretch team members, most who live on-site and have been operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. The track has been closed to the general public and to closed all but essential personnel since March 12, 2020.

We will continue to work with authorities to familiarize them with the protocols which have been put in place to protect the health and safety of those who work with the horses and the horses themselves.

We look forward to the return of live racing at Santa Anita as soon as approval is received from local regulators.

Santa Anita re-schedules Opening Day to Saturday

SANTA ANITA TO POSTPONE OPENING DAY TO SATURDAY, DEC. 28,

AHEAD OF LOOMING RAIN FORECAST

The opening day of Santa Anita’s 83rd season will be postponed two days until Saturday, December 28th, ahead of next week’s declining weather forecast.

“Opening Day is traditionally one of our biggest days of the year, but our commitment to safety is first and foremost,” said Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director of California for The Stronach Group. “It was very important to make this call as early as possible for our horsemen, fans and employees. There are many moving parts, especially in the training of these wonderful horses, and this decision is being made at this time out of respect to give all involved plenty of advance notice.”

Boom Time for California Horse Racing“It is very difficult to predict weather forecasts in Southern California more than 48 hours in advance,” said Dennis Moore, who has returned to his responsibilities overseeing Santa Anita track surfaces. “Right now, they have rain Monday through Thursday morning. But the models are continuing to change and when they do that, they are usually building up moisture.”

It would be the first time since the 1973-74 winter season that Santa Anita has not opened on December 26th. Santa Anita last opened on December 28th in 1971. Last year’s opening day on-track attendance was 41,373, with an all-time opening day handle record of over $20-million.

“The stakes races set for Thursday will be brought back on Saturday,” said Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s VP & Director of Racing. “With the rain in the forecast, it was extremely likely that the races would be off the turf on Thursday. Postponing opening day will allow for the high quality turf racing synonymous with Santa Anita. We are planning on filling extra races throughout the opening week to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”

Among the horses set to run is Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach, the likely heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes, now set for Saturday. “They are doing the right thing by moving the races,” said Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach’s Hall of Fame trainer. “I’m just very happy to be in the race with this horse.”

Entries for Opening Day will be drawn on Monday, December 23rd, which was scheduled to be the entry day for that Saturday.

Santa Anita’s revised Opening Week schedule has live racing Saturday, December 28th and Sunday, December 29th; New Year’s Day Wednesday, January 1st, and Friday, January 3rd through Sunday, January 5th.

First post time on Saturday, December 28th, will be 11:00 a.m.

ABOUT SANTA ANITA PARK
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

Aidan O’Brien’s Runners Aiming for Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita

Aidan O'Brien's Arizona pointed at Santa Anita for Breeders' CupThe duo [of Arizona and Wichita] were beaten two lengths and two and three-quarter lengths respectively in the Group One heat, with Arizona notably closing the gap with the winner after trailing him by nine lengths in the National Stakes at the Curragh previously.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien was satisfied with their performances and could now look to Santa Anita on November 1 and 2 with the pair.

O’Brien said: “Arizona ran well, as we were worried about the ground for him. He’s a nice-moving horse.

“Arizona and Wichita are both possibles for the Breeders’ Cup, although Wichita might be a little bit more of a baby as he wasn’t out until later.”

The Ballydoyle handler also has Royal Lodge winner Royal Dornoch and Listed victor Fort Myers among his possible Santa Anita team.

He added: “Royal Dornoch is another possible for the Juvenile and Fort Myers who won in Dundalk is another that could go. We’ll see how they are in the next few weeks.”

Possible $5 Million Pool for Father’s Day at Santa Anita

SANTA ANITA TO OFFER POTENTIAL $5 MILLION FATHER’S DAY MANDATORY PAYOUT AS 20 CENT SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT CONTINUES TO GROW

ARCADIA, Calif. (June 12, 2019)—With the prospect of a $5 million total pool at stake, Santa Anita Park will offer fans a mandatory 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot payout on Father’s Day, this Sunday, June 16.

Although Sunday’s mandatory payout provision is contingent upon there being no Single Ticket winner on Friday, the popular wager is on schedule to produce a massive pool at week’s end, as $1,161,294 in “live” money will be carried into Friday’s eight-race card, which gets underway at 1 p.m.

Sunday’s Jackpot pool is difficult to predict, but this past Sunday’s today’s total pool of $1,353,571 would indicate that a Father’s Day Jackpot of $5 million is within reach.

ADDITIONAL MANDATORY JACKPOT PAYOUT ON CLOSING DAY, JUNE 23

With Santa Anita’s closing day set for Sunday, June 23, fans will be treated to another mandatory Rainbow Six payout, as all exotic pools must be distributed.

To purchase tickets, or for more information on Santa Anita’s Father’s Day Mandatory Payout and a variety of Father’s Day events and packages, please visit Santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

ABOUT SANTA ANITA PARK
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

Pegasus statue at Gulfstream ParkABOUT THE STRONACH GROUP

The Stronach Group (TSG) is a world-class entertainment and real estate development company with Thoroughbred horse racing at the core. The company’s mission is executed through the distinct but interconnected pillars of Racing and Gaming, Entertainment, Technology and Real Estate Development. TSG is dedicated to delivering the best in class Thoroughbred horse racing content and operations. The company holds some of the greatest brands in the industry including, Southern California’s Santa Anita Park, “The Great Race Place”; South Florida’s Gulfstream Park, home to the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series and retail destination, The Village at Gulfstream Park; Pimlico Race Course, home of the legendary Preakness Stakes, Laurel Park and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland; Oregon’s Portland Meadows; and the San Francisco Bay Area’s, Golden Gate Fields. TSG is a leader in digital and mobile wagering technology through its subsidiaries AmTote and Xpressbet and is a major distributor of horse racing content to a global audience through Monarch Content Management. The award winning Adena Springs is the breeding and training facility of The Stronach Group with stables in Kentucky, Florida and Ontario.

As horse death toll grows at Santa Anita, fans and foes of racing see a hard battle over sport’s future

The CHRB has called a special meeting Friday, April 12, at Santa Anita, and could take action to move racing dates to another track for the rest of this year’s season, which is scheduled to continue through Sunday, June 23.

Larry Levine, a Los Angeles-based political consultant who said he has been a horse racing fan since visiting Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana with his father at age 14, said he would be surprised if legislators put a racing-ban measure on the ballot, a move that could mean lost state revenue and attracting the ire of racing supporters. So any such move, he said, would be up to activists.

“In California, it comes down to ‘Do you have enough money to pay the signature-gatherers the $2 or $4 or $6 or $10 they want (per signature)?,” Levine said.

“Then it comes down to the political moxie of the industry to fight back,” he added. “Nobody can show me (the racing industry) has shown a lot of political moxie in recent years.”

But the racing industry nationwide, and related industries and labor groups in California, would spend money to protect their interests in a major racing state. Levine said such pro-racing spending would make any racing ban proposition “a very expensive campaign.”

The problem for those arguing for keeping racing, Levine said, is “How do you overcome the emotions (about) a dead horse?”

The 23rd and most recent fatal breakdown during the current Santa Anita season, which started on Wednesday, Dec. 26, occurred in the San Simeon Stakes on the hillside turf course Sunday, March 31, when the 5-year-old gelding Arms Runner fractured his right foreleg as the horses crossed the main track near the top of the stretch. Arms Runner and jockey Martin Pedroza fell, taking La Sardane and rider Ruben Fuentes down with them. Arms Runner had to be eunthanized

Santa Anita Re-opens Friday; Stakes Moved to New Dates

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 24, 2019)—With CHRB approval expected this Thursday, Santa Anita Park will reopen for live racing on Friday, March 29 and the Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes will headline proceedings, with first post time at 1 p.m. Santa Anita, which has been closed for live racing since March 3, has also issued a revised stakes schedule, with eight stakes, six of them graded, relocated on what will be a busy racing calendar.

As part of the revised schedule, the 82nd running of the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap, which was originally scheduled for March 9, will now be run on Santa Anita Derby Day, Saturday, April 6. With the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby leading the way April 6, Santa Anita will also offer a third Grade I stakes, the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks.

Also on Santa Anita Derby Day, the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine and the Grade III, $150,000 Providencia will be complemented by two additional stakes, the $200,000 Evening Jewel and the Echo Eddie, making for a total of seven added money events on what will no doubt be a blockbuster afternoon on April 6.

Big Cap Stakes Moved

Along with the Santa Anita Handicap, two other graded stakes originally scheduled for Big ’Cap Day, March 9, have been rescheduled and will now be included in a total of six graded stakes to be run on Saturday, March 30, as the Grade I, $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) and the Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos will also be joined by the Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile (originally scheduled for March 16), the Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon (originally scheduled for March 16), and the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes.

Horsemen have also been advised that the following stakes, which were also originally scheduled to be run during Santa Anita’s period of inactivity, have been rescheduled. The $100,000 Irish O’Brien has been moved to March 31, as has the $100,000 Sensational Star and the $75,000 Santana Mile.

Entries for Friday, March 29 will be taken on Sunday, March 24. For a complete listing of Santa Anita’s remaining Winter/Spring Stakes Schedule, please visit santaanita.com.

ABOUT SANTA ANITA PARK
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

ABOUT THE STRONACH GROUP
The Stronach Group is North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, home of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.

Santa Anita Park whip ban looks like a panicked response to a welfare crisis

From the UK’s Guardian:

The first, an immediate ban on the use of all race-day medication including the anti-bleeding drug Lasix, has since been watered down and will start with the two-year-old crop in 2020. The second, though, seems likely to apply from Friday: a ban on the use of the whip by jockeys for anything but “corrective safety measures”.

If so, Santa Anita will be the first track in a major racing nation to ban the whip for encouragement at any stage of a race. It will also set a precedent that racing regulators around the world will struggle to ignore. If Santa Anita can get by without the whip in the closing stages of a race, why can’t everyone?

The British Horseracing Authority will be watching with interest. “We talk regularly to our colleagues in other countries where racing is held,” a spokesperson said this week. “Events have moved quite quickly in recent weeks in California and we look forward to catching up at the next opportunity to hear more of their plans.”   more…

Santa Anita To Resume Racing Soon

March 22 is the Expected Date

“It really couldn’t be any better,” Cerin said of the dirt surface. “It’s so kind, you can’t hear the horses going by and all of my riders say they’re (horses) getting a good hold of the surface. We could work horses on it right now, no question.”

ARCADIA, Calif. — Training resumed on Santa Anita’s main dirt track Monday, with horses limited to jogging and galloping while the surface is monitored for any irregularities that may have caused the deaths of 21 horses since December.

Santa Anita officials say a return to live racing is expected “in the near future.”

Track consultant Dennis Moore said “everything went well” Monday and that all the testing data supports the decision to allow limited training while racing remains suspended indefinitely.

Moore said that if all continues to go well with limited training, timed workouts could resume in the next couple of days.

The inner training track was reopened for timed workouts, with 133 horses being officially clocked for working out at distances ranging from two to six furlongs.

Trainer Vladimir Cerin …

Horse Deaths at Santa Anita Spell Trouble for the Horse Racing Industry

NY Times coverage:

As the Triple Crown season approaches, the talk should be about contenders for the Kentucky Derby. Instead, dead horses and canceled races are hot topics after Santa Anita Park suspended thoroughbred racing because of a spike in fatalities that has cast doubt on the safety of its racing surface.

A filly named Lets Light the Way was euthanized on Tuesday after shattering a sesamoid bone at the ankle joint. It was the 21st horse fatality in racing or training at Santa Anita since Dec. 26. That is more than the 20 deaths that occurred over 122 racing days in 2017, according to Jockey Club data.

“The safety, health and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top priority,” Tim Ritvo, the chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, which owns the track, said in a statement. “While we are confident further testing will confirm the soundness of the track, the decision to close is the right thing to do at this time.”

It was the second time in eight days that the historic track below the San Gabriel Mountains a few miles east of Pasadena, Calif., was shut down. The closure has forced the postponement on Saturday of the track’s signature race, the Santa Anita Handicap, which was won by the storied horse Seabiscuit in 1940, and the San Felipe Handicap, a major prep race for 3-year-olds trying to qualify for the Kentucky Derby…

The track was closed on Feb. 26 and 27 after the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, Battle of Midway, was fatally injured during a workout. A track safety expert from the University of Kentucky, Mick Peterson, was brought in to search for possible irregularities that might explain the spike in fatalities.

He didn’t find any. Shortly after the course was reopened, however, the filly Eskenforadrink became the 20th fatality, breaking down during a race and later being euthanized…

Santa Anita Was Reaccredited by Safety & Integrity Alliance this past May

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity AllianceEditor’s Note: It’s a good thing that Santa Anita received the seal of approval from the racing industry last May (sic) by being re-accredited by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.

Since a sickening report on the NBC Nightly News after the 19th breakdown and death of a racehorse at beautiful Santa Anita racecourse, two more horses have died in less than one week.  That brings the total to 21 deaths since the track re-opened this past winter.  This is not only heartbreaking to every racing fan but totally unacceptable.

Just in the past elections in Florida, the popular vote chose to shut down greyhound racing, a staple in the Sunshine State for many decades.  Within minutes of this news, there were comments all over social media that “horse racing needs to be next.”

In the liberal state of California, it won’t be long before a huge push is made to do just that to horse racing in the Golden State.  All the stake holders involved need to stop looking at the short term picture and shut this track down until we can figure out what in the world is going on.  Can we really blame recent rainy weather?  Is there a trend with certain types of horses involved?  Certain barns?  Layoffs?  It’s complicated, but we need to look beyond just the surface (no pun intended).

The Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is scheduled for “The Great Race Place” this fall, and we can’t just hope that this problem goes away.

May 2018 Press Release:

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance

“The reaccreditation of Santa Anita was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of an extensive written application and continued as the track hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing operations. Interviews were conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators.

The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Ron Jensen, DVM (veterinary and regulatory consultant), former equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; Mike Kilpack (security and integrity consultant), past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance; and Cathy O’Meara (racing operations consultant), coordinator of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.

Alliance certification standards address an extensive list of safety and integrity concerns within six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication and testing; jockey health and welfare; and wagering security.

“Santa Anita is always proud to stand at the forefront of racetrack safety and integrity,” said Rick Hammerle, the track’s vice president of racing and racing secretary. “Every decision here is made with the safety of our human and equine athletes in mind.”

Santa Anita has been continuously accredited since 2009, the Alliance’s inaugural year. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years…”