02/02/2013 12:21PM

California Horse Racing Board reports equine fatalities rose in state by 5 percent in 2011-2012


Equine fatalities rose by 5 percent at California racetracks for a 12-month period ending last June, with a significant rise in training deaths at Santa Anita.

The data was released on Friday by the California Horse Racing Board as part of an annual review of racing in the state. The review covered racing for the fiscal year from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012.

The report summarized racing in the state during that time and included data on mutuel handle, which had an all-sources total of $3,077,584,646 for the fiscal year. The handle figures marked a 6 percent increase from the $2,903,905,682 wagered in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Handle for the 2009-10 fiscal year was $3,441,290,099.

In the 2011-12 fiscal year, there were 278 horses euthanized in California as a result of injuries during racing and training, or deaths attributed to a wide array of illnesses, including colic, and respiratory and neurological diseases, the report stated. Of those 278, 207 were euthanized as a result of injuries from racing and training, while 71 were classified as having died from illnesses.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, there were 265 horses euthanized in California – 186 from racing and training injuries and 79 that died from illness. By further comparison, there were 287 fatalities in the 2009-10 fiscal year – 220 from racing and training injuries and 67 that died from illness.

Santa Anita had the sharpest increase in fatalities attributed to racing and training, from 30 in the 2010-11 fiscal year to 59 in 2011-12. The racing board reported that there were 18 racing and 12 training fatalities on dirt and turf in the 2010-11 fiscal year at Santa Anita, compared to 17 racing and 42 training the following year.

Santa Anita’s main track was not open for training for much of the fall of 2010, while undergoing a transformation from a synthetic track to a conventional dirt track. Santa Anita’s conventional dirt track opened for training in December, 2010. In the preceding months, many stables relocated to Hollywood Park, while training at Santa Anita was restricted to the infield training track.

Among the state’s leading tracks for the 2011-12 fiscal year, Del Mar had four more fatalities in racing and training than the previous year, from 8 to 12; Fairplex Park had a decline from 6 to 2; Hollywood Park had a decline from 42 to 36; Golden Gate showed an increase from 37 to 38; and Los Alamitos had a decline from 37 to 35.