Sports | May 27, 2019 1:58 pm

Three Horses Die In Nine Days at Santa Anita Park

26 Horses Have Died At the Track Since December 2018

Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park in 2009.
Rennett Stowe/Creative Commons

Kochees, a 9-year-old gelding racing at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, May 25 was injured in the race and euthanized the following day. He was the third horse to die as a result of injuries on the track in the last nine days. All in all, 26 horses have died on the track since December 26, 2018.

This string of tragic events has sparked a renewed call for increased safety measures in horse racing. This includes limitations on the use of Lasix, a drug which can ease respiratory bleeding but which can also cause dehydration, on race days.  A number of track operators have agreed to wind down the use of Lasix in certain races, and state regulators are also looking into the issue.

Lasix has been a part of the racing world for several decades. As a report published earlier this year in the Louisville Courier-Journal noted, “The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without a race-day dose of Lasix was Grindstone in 1996.”

Unsurprisingly, Santa Anita Park has drawn protests in recent months for the equine fatalities. A CBS News report from March suggested that heavy winter rains in Southern California may have also caused the track to become unstable.

Santa Anita Park has a long history: it held its first race in 1934, and has hosted the Breeders’ Cup on nine occasions. It is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup again this fall, on November 1 and 2.

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