On Wednesday, a two-year-old colt named Derby River became the latest equine fatality at the California horse racing venue Santa Anita Park.
Joe Drape at the The New York Times reports the 2-year-old colt named Derby River was injured while galloping during training, and was euthanized, making him the 27th fatality at the racetrack since the current meet began late last year, on December 26, 2018.
The turn of events has put pressure on the Stronach Group — which owns the track and several others, including Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore — and the sport at large to put meaningful reforms in place to ensure safety of its equine athletes and the jockeys who ride them.
Dead horses, too many of them, have drawn a bull's-eye around the sport.
Nearly 10 horses a week, on average, died at American racetracks in 2018, according to the Jockey Club's Equine Injury Database. That fatality rate is two and a half to five times greater than in the rest of the horse racing world.
The sport is divided. On one side are horse breeders and owners who back a federal bill to create a uniform national standard for drug testing and medication rules in racehorses that would be overseen by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. On the other are horse trainers and racetrack owners who find the proposed changes too expensive and intrusive.
Today, the New York Times printed a complete list of all the horses reported to have died at Santa Anita. They will continue to update it.`
Derby River, an unraced 2-year-old colt, sustained a catastrophic shoulder injury while training and had to be euthanized at a nearby clinic. Mike Marten, a spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board, said that a necropsy would be performed and that the death would be included on the Santa Anita list even though Derby River had died at the clinic.
PHOTO: Horses racing at Santa Anita Race Track, 2011, via Pixabay.