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Santa Anita Will Not Open on the 22nd

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Opening Day scenes, Santa Anita Park, CA 12.26.2017.

By Dan Ross

After a meeting Friday between representatives of The Stronach Group (TSG) and various stakeholders, Santa Anita management has decided not to re-open the track for live racing Mar. 22 as scheduled.

The reason, said California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) executive director Alan Balch, was an inability to reach agreement on their plan to ban Lasix. “We had a lengthy, serious and frank exchange of views on Lasix, because we believe very strongly that the administration of Lasix is in the interest of the welfare of the horse,” said Balch.

No news has yet been given as to a possible re-scheduled opening date at Santa Anita.

At the meeting, said Balch, were representatives for the TSG, CTT, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Horse Racing Board equine medical director Rick Arthur, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium executive director, Dionne Benson, and Darrell Haire of the Jockey’s Guild.

With the exception of the issue of Lasix, the various parties were in agreement on “virtually all” the other factors in the TSG’s announcement Thursday, said Balch. “And, we have even suggested potentially going further, in the restricted use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. We put several suggestions on the table on how to make those restrictions more far-reaching and effective.”

An “extended conversation” was also had on the “proper use” of the whip, said Balch. “And we applauded the installation of new procedures in morning workouts for use of the whip,” said Balch. During training hours, riders must only use the whip for purposes of safety. No striking allowed.

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