STATEMENT FROM THE STRONACH GROUP
On behalf of everyone at Santa Anita Park, we wish to express our sincere gratitude and heartfelt thanks for the support we have received during one of the most challenging times in our history.
All of us have been beyond devastated by the tragedies that befell this meet, none more so than the several thousand Californians who work at Santa Anita Park, both in the stable area and in the grandstand, and many of whom call it their home. They are also the people who have been first in line to embrace the historic reforms we proposed – and our California regulators have enacted – that resulted in a seismic shift in how Thoroughbred racing is conducted in our state.
California Thoroughbred racing is now consistent with or better than International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities’ medication standards which, over time, have shown to be much safer.
Since the new rules took effect in the middle of March, Santa Anita Park has seen significant improvement, including a 58 percent decrease in the number of fatalities during racing. We have seen an even greater decrease – approximately 80 percent – during training. All told, since these reforms were enacted, Santa Anita has seen an incident rate of 1.86 per 1,000 starters during racing and approximately .019 per 1,000 training sessions including morning gallops and workouts. During the course of this meet, Santa Anita’s population of equine athletes raced or trained more than 270,000 times over the tracks.
Even with these significant improvements, The Stronach Group and Santa Anita Park will continue, each and every day, to push for additional improvements and reforms to modernize our sport. We recognize that Thoroughbred horse racing is, above all else, a stakeholder sport, and we are grateful for the collaboration as we continuously strive to improve.
We thank our industry partners – the Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Thoroughbred Trainers, California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the jockeys at our track and the fans who support our races – for adapting with us and continuing to be committed to a sport where horse and rider safety comes first.
We also thank our state regulators and elected officials who have shown an incredible commitment to making California Thoroughbred racing the safest and best in the world. The California Horse Racing Board, under the Chairmanship of Chuck Winner, pulled together with us to put in place much-needed medication reforms that now serve as a model for the nation. We would also like to express our utmost appreciation and thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom and to Secretary Alexis Podesta, both of whom have responded to this challenge by implementing significant reforms while recognizing the importance of horse racing throughout the state.
Santa Anita is proud and excited to have the privilege of hosting this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships in November for a record 10th time. We would like to thank the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors for its progressive leadership and support.
We look forward to welcoming you all back to “The Great Race Place” in September.