This past Sunday marks the 26th horse death at the California Santa Anita race track day, but it was the 3rd death within the past 9 days. Officials stated the latest horse to be put down was Kochees, a 9-year-old gelding, due to a leg injury he sustained.
The track, Santa Anita, has gone weeks without a death or incident.
Mike Willman, Santa Anita’s director of information, confirmed, but maintained that, “Every effort was made to save the animal.” The owner of Santa Anita is investigating whether new rules were followed before the 26th horse death at the Southern California racetrack. The injury appeared to be correctable through surgery. However, when doctors realized the horse had lost blood flow to the leg, he was euthanized.
Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for The Stronach Group, told The Associated Press on Monday that the track’s owner is looking into whether protocols were followed leading up to the gelding being euthanized
Santa Anita investigating if rules were followed before the race.
“If those rules were not followed, consequences will be swift,” Friedman said. “I’m not going to get into specifics about the incident, but anybody who thinks they can skirt the rules and keep to the old way of doing things, it’s not going to fly anymore.”
Among the rules put in place since March, a trainer’s veterinarian must sign off on a horse’s fitness before the track’s veterinarian also takes a look at the animal ahead of its training or racing.
Animal rights activists protested outside the track Monday, toting signs urging the end of racing in California. The day’s 10 races went off without a mishap.