4. 🏇 Storied California track shuts down after 21 horses die
Santa Anita Park, the storied Los Angeles-area racetrack where "Seabiscuit" was filmed, indefinitely suspended all future races yesterday following the 21st horse fatality in the last 69 days, the L.A. Times reports.
- Details: Seven horses have died while racing on the dirt oval, five have died during turf races and nine have died while training.
What's happening: Nobody knows. The initial thought was that there was something wrong with the surface, but no irregularities were found during testing last week.
- Maybe it's the weather? Some think the region's unusually wet and cold weather this winter could be the cause, as the tracks are not built for that.
- Breeders? Others suggest horses are not as durable as they used to be because they're being bred for speed, not long careers.
- Drugs? PETA released a statement calling for an investigation into whether horses were being loaded up with anti-inflammatory drugs to mask injuries so they can run.
What they're saying: "Something is drastically wrong. I’ve been around a long time and have never seen this," said famed horse trainer Art Sherman.
"We first noticed it in mid-January, but we've had situations in the past where there were extraordinary flurries and then nothing for a long time. You don't know if it's an anomaly. But here it went from bad to worse."— Rick Baedeker, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board
The bottom line: It took 21 horses dying in the span of 69 days to get this place shutdown. If only 15 had died, it would have apparently just been an "anomaly." Forget the racetrack; something is drastically wrong with this sport.