The horse racing season came to an end over the weekend with The Breeders Cup. It marked the end of a very bad year for the sport, and it closed out it's season at the most infamous of its tracks…Santa Anita. The California track has a storied history, but after this year, some negative history has been added. Leading up to this weekend, 36 horses had died at Santa Anita since December.
Today, that number is 37
Mongolian Groom was euthanized following the race after he broke his left hind leg. While I feel awful for the horse, it was a fitting end to the season and an ending that will hopefully force the industry to take a very long, hard look in the mirror at itself and figure out how to stop this. The track owners have implemented changes over the year to address medication and training restrictions, and The Breeders had added to their own pre-race exams…but despite this, it's still happening.
Let me ask you this: What would happen if ANY sport had 37 of its competitors die within a 12-month period? What if all of those deaths occurred at the same venue? You know the answer to that, the public would be losing their crap. Politicians would be pledging to pass bills (all talk) to make things safer or to ban the venue. Unfortunately, that's not what the response has been by and large from the press or public. It's basically been a yawn. Why? because it's horses and not people.
I have no issue with the 'concept' of horse racing and I've never had a bad time at the track, but the industry needs to figure this out quickly. People may not have paid a ton of attention to it this year, but if this same issue carries into 2020, the outrage will come sooner rather than later.