March Madness: Santa Anita Horse Deaths
WELCOME TO SPORTS CRIMINALS. March madness special every day in March. Where counting down the top. Thirty One. Sports scandals of the past thirty one years. This is our penultimate episode. And unfortunately it's a sad one. It covers the mysterious deaths of horses at the Santa Anita Race. Track during two thousand nineteen and be sure to come back tomorrow for the last day of March madness. Special this free on spotify or wherever. You get your podcasts March. Thirty first two thousand nineteen at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia California the San Simeon stakes horse race was well underway the greed. Three competition at Santa Anita Park was shaping up to be yet another exciting outing but not for the right reasons as the competitor sped into the final turn. The horse named arms runner tripped and fell into the dirt as the animal went down. Horse named Lazar Dane fell with it. Miraculously loss Dane was unscathed. Arms runner on the other hand suffered a broken ankle. When the track cleared arms runner was taken to the stables and euthanized. It was the twenty third horse death at Santa Anita in three months and it wouldn't be the last welcome to sports criminals. Par cast original. This is the thirtieth episode in March Madness. Special non this month. We're counting down the top thirty one sports scandals from nineteen ninety. Two Thousand Twenty. I'm Carter Roy and I'm Tim Johnson in today's episode. We're going back to two thousand nineteen when Santa Anita Park experienced dramatic increase in horse deaths. Racehorse deaths are not uncommon between two thousand nine and two thousand eighteen over six thousand horses died in America but in two thousand eighteen the death rate dropped thirty seven percent. It was a hopeful. Sign that the sport was getting safer. Then at the beginning of two thousand nineteen things took a dark turn at a race track in southern located about seventeen miles from downtown Los Angeles Santa Anita Park had been in operation for over eighty years legendary horses like Seabiscuit Secretary and John. Henry all famously kicked up. Santa Anita's dirt as they charged victory but in early two thousand nineteen the historic race track was struck with a crisis from December twenty. Sixth two thousand eighteen to March second two thousand nineteen twenty horses died nine out of ten times the Horse was euthanized after a serious injury. When a horse brexit's ankle or leg it has a difficult time sitting still long enough to let the bones heal and because these majestic creatures can weigh over one thousand pounds. Even a healed leg has trouble supporting so much pressure. Re Breaking the original fracture is a major risk rather than subjecting. The animals to excruciating. Pain veterinarians generally agree. That it's more humane to euthanize them. However horse racing officials had no idea what was causing so many horses at Santa Anita to suffer these life ending injuries. The problem was so severe. The park had to temporary shut down for the first time in its storied. History many believed that the abnormally rainy winter was to blame. They suspected the dirt track had become too soft after three weeks of investigation. New Rules and regulations were put into place and the park was reopened at the end of March. However the horse deaths continued by the end of. May Ten more horses died with the sunny so cal summer in full swing course conditions were no longer a concern instead. Training tactics went under the microscope. Apparently four of the horses who died were trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Holland door for despite his impressive record in June. Two thousand nineteen all indoor for received a lifetime ban on all tracks owned by Santa Anita's parent company the stronach group and yet the deaths continue to mount. It seems like hall door wasn't the only trainer using dangerous methods but in their December two thousand nineteen report. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office concluded that there was no evidence of animal cruelty or criminal activity taking place at Santa Anita. Instead the report recommended the continued implementation of new rules for the animal safety as well as harsher penalties for those who violated them. Some of the rules put into effect included restrictions on steroids race day medications and anti inflammatory drugs. Despite the increase in rules the death still continued at an alarming rate. In the first two months twenty twenty nine horses were euthanized. After sustaining injuries bringing the toll to nearly fifty since December two thousand eighteen time will ultimately tell the new regulations put an end to horse deaths at Santa Anita but if they continue to escalate public outcry may close the famed race. Track for good. Thanks for listening to sports. Criminals March madness. We'll be back tomorrow. Our final scandal. You can catch our other episodes of sports criminals for free on spotify or wherever US podcasts.