Santa Anita Will Have Enhanced Pre-Race Review Amid Horse Deaths
Horses racing at Santa Anita through June 23, the end of the current meet, will be "subjected to heightened pre-race evaluation by a panel of experts in an effort to improve safety in the aftermath of 29 equine fatalities since late December," according to Steve Andersen of the DAILY RACING FORM. Yesterday's announcement by the track and California Horse Racing Board "came less than 24 hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a brief statement criticizing racing for the recent fatalities." Beginning tomorrow, a five-person team of racing board veterinarians and stewards "will review the medical, training, and race records of horses entered to race and will have the ability to scratch horses deemed unfit" (DRF.com, 6/12). In L.A., John Cherwa writes the evaluations should "lead to smaller field sizes, which has an effect on mutuel handle, the financial engine that runs race tracks" (L.A. TIMES, 6/12).
FRESH START: In Baltimore, Ian Duncan notes city officials yesterday withdrew a "lawsuit against the owners of Pimlico Race Course, abandoning legal confrontation for negotiations over how to rehabilitate the aging venue and keep the running of the Preakness Stakes in the city." The spring saw "ratcheting tensions between city leaders and the track’s owner, The Stronach Group." Alan Rifkin, a lawyer for The Stronach Group, said, "The slate has been wiped clean." Discussions set to begin under the rapprochement announced yesterday "will likely focus on the scope of the renovations" at Pimlico and Laurel Park, as well as "what portion of the cost the company would bear and what might fall to taxpayers" (BALTIMORE SUN, 6/13).