Santa Anita Park Completes Near-Perfect Safety Year

Santa Anita has produced a 99.97% safety record since the start of 2023 autumn meet.
Published
17th Jun 2024
Reading time
3 mins
Since opening day of the autumn meet Sept. 29, 2023, through closing day of the Hollywood Meet June 17, 2024, 6,678 horses ran in races on Santa Anita's main track and turf course. The track reports that the 99.97% safety mark ranks Santa Anita the highest in the world with a similar schedule.

By: Santa Anita Park

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Santa Anita Park concluded the six-month 2023-24 winter-spring season June 16 which, when combined with the six-week Autumn Meet from 2023, produced a 99.97% safety record, making the 1/ST Racing facility the safest track in North America among those with a comparable volume of racing and training.

Since opening day of the autumn meet Sept. 29, 2023, through closing day of the Hollywood Meet June 17, 2024, 6,678 horses ran in races on Santa Anita’s main track and turf course. The track reports that the 99.97% safety mark ranks Santa Anita the highest in the world with a similar schedule.

Santa Anita’s record is highlighted by a 90% reduction in racing fatalities over the past five years since historic reforms to modernize the sport of Thoroughbred racing were instituted by 1/ST Racing, the California Horse Racing Board, and industry stakeholders.

In addition to hosting some of the most prestigious races in the nation, Santa Anita is home to one of the largest training facilities in the country, operating year-round with more than 375,000 training sessions per year.

“It is impossible to overstate the diligence that the entire racing community has put into prioritizing the safety of the horse above all else,” said Nate Newby, senior vice president and general manager of Santa Anita. “From the owners, trainers, jockeys, veterinarians, and the hard-working men and women who care for the horses each day, everyone has done their part to make safety our North Star.

“Winter is always a challenge with weather, and we have a tremendous Santa Anita Park track crew, led by veteran Dennis Moore, whose tireless efforts and countless long days were vitally important.” Newby continued. “We are grateful to the CHRB for their unwavering leadership in placing the welfare of the horse first, and especially to our horseplayers, who continue to support Santa Anita Park, which enables all of us to continue these industry-leading efforts.”

The safe record contributed to a strong first quarter for United States racing. On the heels of a successful Triple Crown season that concluded without any equine fatalities—numbers that will be included in the second-quarter report—the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority released June 12 its 2024 First Quarter Metrics Report that saw a 38% decrease in racing-related fatalities compared with the first three months of 2023.

Racetracks operating under HISA’s rules and running races in the first quarter reported 0.84 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts, compared with 1.35 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts in the first quarter of 2023.

Chief veterinary officer for 1/ST Racing Dionne Benson noted the contributions of veterinarians at the track.

“Santa Anita Park veterinarians performed nearly 6,400 examinations prior to horses working at Santa Anita since Sept. 1 of last year,” Benson said. “The heightened scrutiny has allowed for additional opportunities for everyone to work for the best interest of the horse. We are pleased that since HISA adopted many of the Santa Anita Park and California protocols in the last year, the overall safety of the sport has improved throughout the country.”

HISA went fully online in the second quarter of 2023 when it launched its oversight of anti-doping and controlled medication. It launched its safety program July 1, 2022. 

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