Santa Anita Racecourse entrance. Photographer not cited.

Horse racing returns to the killing fields of Santa Anita

Horse racing returns to the killing fields of Santa Anita for its Autumn race meet, reports local station CBS Ch. 2 Los Angeles.

The article states: “Santa Anita suffered several racing horse deaths in recent years, but the acting director said changes made in California may become the standard nationwide”. The acting director they refer to is Aidan Butler.

California, home of the biggest race cheater in recent memory and perhaps of all time, Bob Baffert, the standard for horse racing nationwide? Go away.

Several racing horse deaths in recent years? This defies belief.

Before we go any further, let’s clarify the amount of racehorse killing done at Santa Anita.

“There have now been 42 horse deaths at the park since December 2018”, writes ABC 30 News, January 19, 2020. That is hardly “several racing horse deaths in recent years”.

There is more from Mr. Butler (unfortunately for them), but before we take a listen at that, let’s take a look at “what several racing horse deaths” appear to be to Mr. Butler.

The following are the racehorse kills for this year alone so far at Santa Anita as documented by Horseracing Wrongs. The death toll is 17 and counting as of this writing. There may be more as further deaths are confirmed.

R: Racing; T: Training; S: Stall

Golden Birthday, Jan 1, Santa Anita R – “took a bad step” (broken leg)

Buckstopper Kit, Jan 7, Santa Anita S

Harliss, Jan 17, Santa Anita R – “fractured ankle”

Uncontainable, Jan 18, Santa Anita R – “fractured ankle”

Tikkun Olam, Jan 19, Santa Anita T – “complete transection of spinal cord” *

Double Touch, Feb 8, Santa Anita T – “sudden death” (five years old)

Miss Romania, Feb 12, Santa Anita T – “fractured shoulder”

Unveiled, Feb 20, Santa Anita T – “fractured shoulder”

Chosen Vessel, Feb 29, Santa Anita R – “fractured ankle”

Smiling Ali, Apr 2, Santa Anita T – “probable cardiac event”

M C Hamster, Apr 15, Santa Anita T – “fractured ankle”

Last Renegade, Apr 24, Santa Anita T – “hit rail, fractured pelvis, hemorrhagic shock”

Tailback, May 10, Santa Anita T – “fracture of the right front leg”

Lightsaber, Jun 7, Santa Anita T – “unrecoverable fracture…humanely euthanized”

Big Red Valentine, Jun 18, Santa Anita S

Strictly Biz, Jun 20, Santa Anita R – “fractured knee”

SOURCE: Horseracing Wrongs — Killed 2020.

PLEASE NOTE: Where no racehorses are listed as killed at Santa Anita, horse racing was not being run — with one exception: there was racing in March with no known kills. Also, please note that the list of kills above ends in June. It is important to note that there was no racing at Santa Anita in July, August or September 1st through 24th. Santa Anita’s Autumn race meet commenced September 25th. See

* Spinal cord transection, as the name implies, refers to a tear within the spinal cord as a result of a significant traumatic injury.

Mr. Butler

Aidan Butler, Executive Director of California Racing Operations for The Stronach Group, has endured some challenges after taking over at Santa Anita about a year ago. (Benoit Photo)
Aidan Butler, Executive Director of California Racing Operations for The Stronach Group (when this was taken), has endured some challenges after taking over at Santa Anita about a year ago. (Benoit Photo)

Here is the promised quote from Mr. Butler.

“We’re very proud of what we did and how we’ve made great leaps and bounds there, ” said Santa Anita Park Acting Executive Director Aidan Butler. “It’s very well-publicized, all the changes we did. An update from what we did in California and why I think California should be proud is, we’ve now led a national coalition of tracks and racing associations to update their medication reforms. The culmination of that is there is now a federal bill in place to take this across the whole country.”

What? Unbelievable, right? You can read it all right here for yourself.

Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

In the meantime, the federal bill pending before Congress (H.R.1754 and S.4547) aimed at “cleaning up” horse racing and referenced by Mr. Butler is likely to create a multi ring circus of embarrassing proportions to everyone. It has already begun.

Even if it becomes law, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will not put an end to racehorse doping. It will not give racing integrity. It will not make racehorses safe. It will not make anyone safe. By the way, the word safety was added to the Senate version of the bill. That’s called “playing to the house”. It is not part of the name of the originating bill in the House.

Running Scare

US horse racing is running scared. It is desperate. Desperate to survive. Desperate to be seen to be doing something. To stop the rot.

If only the people in US horse racing were as desperate about the integrity and safety of the horses they unconscionably breed, exploit, abuse, discard and kill. Instead they make disappointing statements like Mr. Butler’s.

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Featured Image: Fox2News

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