Studying Santa Anita: A Key to Making Horse Racing Safer
Finding the purpose of 21 equine fatalities at Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, California, is key to the future of no longer only the venue however additionally the horse racing enterprise in trendy, says a Kentucky-based scientist who’s amongst those investigating the incidents. “We ‘re doing the excellent we can with the records that we’ve, but we want to do extra to enhance protection for horses and riders with a view to keep racing,” stated Mick Peterson, PhD, director of the University of Kentucky’s Ag Equine Programs and a professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering. He’s also the govt director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, through which he evaluates surface conditions at Santa Anita and other main racetracks national. From the time Santa Anita’s contemporary race meet began in December 2018 till Feb. 25, 19 racehorses died or were euthanized because the result of accidents sustained even as racing or schooling on Santa Anita’s dust and turf tracks. In reaction, control closed the song to racing and training for two days so Peterson and others ought to examine soil samples and carefully study the music’s cushion, pad, and base. However, those investigations discovered no music-associated link to the fatalities.
“The floor-penetrating radar confirmed that every one of the materials—silt, clay, and sand, as well as moisture content—had been constant everywhere on this song,” he said. “We saw surely nothing that could have contributed to the deaths.” As a end result of the findings, Santa Anita reopened the song to racing and schooling on Feb. 28. But on March 5, after greater horses sustained fatal accidents, song officers suspended all racing and training on Santa Anita’s dirt and turf publications indefinitely, pending the consequences of a clean spherical of checking out. “It’s hard,” Peterson stated. “We are operating with the equine medical director and with pathologists to bring all available information to discover what came about; this must be a multifaceted approach.” Track Maintenance a Priority Peterson said operators of primary tracks across the us of a already take a multipronged approach to music maintenance that consists of harrowing at some point of schooling breaks and between races, every day grading, and watering as wanted throughout the day. They also degree moisture content material and floor cushion depth each day. “Track officers even have a weather station on-site in which they receive weather reports every 15 minutes,” Peterson said. As an added precaution, Peterson examines floor samples from 12 major tracks on a monthly basis and conducts on-web page surface research every six months. Results from those studies, in addition to reports from the regular track preservation crew, are delivered to a database of each day and monthly music situations. When accidents or fatalities do occur, officers paintings with veterinarians appearing necropsies to discover the reason of every incident. Communication Key to Making Racing Safer No rely how rigorous a venue’s renovation plan or how certain its music safety database, basic protection may ultimately hinge on how nicely racing enterprise individuals communicate with every different, Peterson stated. “For instance, running shoes need extra statistics about the consequences of weather and statistics from the tune floor to help them with their education selections,” Peterson said. “We also need to speak with the veterinarians due to the fact soundness is a seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day mission.”
The Bottom Line Ultimately, Peterson believes addressing the Santa Anita situation can decide the destiny of racing inside the U.S. “If there are problems, they’re going to be addressed,” he said. “The safety of horses, jockeys, and exercising humans is our number one precedence.” “We ought to technique this undertaking with the expertise that this is constantly a technique, and if you want to continue racing, we need to continually try to get better irrespective of how suitable the results.” Editor’s Note: Update 3/12/19: Santa Anita Park’s one-mile principal song reopened for constrained schooling Monday morning as horses jogged and galloped from 5 a.M. To ten a.M., with three interruptions for frequently scheduled renovations. Additionally, Santa Anita’s six-furlong inner schooling tune turned into reopened for timed exercises, as 133 horses obtained legit clockings for breezes at distances from two furlongs to six furlongs (three quarters of mile). Santa Anita Park’s one-mile major music reopened for restrained schooling Monday morning as horses jogged and galloped from 5 a.M. To ten a.M., with 3 interruptions for frequently scheduled renovations.