When the 2018-2019 winter-spring meet at Santa Anita Park ended on June 26, the tumultuous season was marked by the number of racehorses fatally injured. In all, 30 died at “The Great Race Place,” either during a workout or a race.
Despite concerted efforts by industry stakeholders to institute safeguards and protocols to mitigate equine fatalities in the sport, it remains an unfortunate occurrence, and an unavoidable reality, at racetracks around the country.
The Stronach Group (TSG), which owns Santa Anita Park and others, responded to the surge in deaths at its track by instituting new race-day rules, medication procedures, and more to protect the well-being of its equine athletes.
The California horse industry, according to statistics from the American Horse Council, the national trade association representing the horse industry, has a $13.3 billion total economic impact on the state. Roughly 77,000 people are directly employed in the industry, with nearly 1,500 employed at Santa Anita Park alone.
For the City of Arcadia and the greater San Gabriel Valley, Santa Anita is a significant source of tax revenue and an economic heavyweight drawing not just sports fans but tourism, film production, and more to its celebrated atmosphere.
With the Breeders’ Cup World Championships returning to Santa Anita, it’s a vote of confidence in TSG and those working behind the scenes who will prepare the track for the world’s best horsemen and their thoroughbreds who, on the first weekend in November, will race for a multimillion-dollar purse and the coveted title of best in the world.