ARCADIA, Calif. (March 31, 2019)–“Arms Runner sustained a fatal injury during the San Simeon Stakes today. 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 five-year-old gelding had won his last race on Jan. 27th 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 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. 

Last Thursday, Santa Anita together with the California Horse Racing Board CHRB, announced ground breaking reforms within our 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.
  • A substantial investment by The Stronach Group in diagnostic equipment to aid in the early detection of pre-existing conditions.”