The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) issued a release Thursday addressing a spate of recent deaths at Los Alamitos. The track is currently holding its traditional mixed-breed meet of predominantly Quarter Horses and lower-level races with Thoroughbreds.
The CHRB release read as follows:
“The California Horse Racing Board has been in contact with personnel and executives at Los Alamitos Race Course concerning the four recent catastrophic injuries of horses at that facility:
“The 6-year-old mare Ballet Royalty finished fifth (last) in the first race at Los Alamitos on March 12. She galloped back and was unsaddled, but then she collapsed while walking off. This is termed a 'sudden death.' As always, a postmortem examination will be performed to provide more insight.
“The 3-year-old filly Fastidious pulled up before the wire in the seventh race March 19 at Los Alamitos. The injury required euthanasia.
“The 5-year-old horse Stolen Lives pulled up while galloping out after the ninth race at Los Alamitos on March 20. The jockey dismounted, then the horse was vanned off. The injury required euthanasia.
“The unraced 3-year-old colt See You At Front sustained an injury while galloping during training on the morning of March 23, requiring euthanasia.
“In recent days Los Alamitos has taken four steps to help improve safety: (1) Eliminated the breaking bar in quarter-horse races; (2) Eliminated high toe grabs on hind shoes; (2) Consulted a racing surface expert regarding the track; and (4) Contacted the University of California, Davis, to fund a study of lumbar fractures in quarter horses.
“These safety measures are particularly applicable to a lumbar (back) fracture, which led to the death of Fastidious. However, it is believed that breaking bars and toe grabs could be a contributing factor to lower leg injuries, which resulted in the deaths of Stolen Lives and See You At Front. Sudden deaths (Ballet Royalty) are a phenomenon among horses (and humans) throughout the world and are the subject of numerous ongoing studies.
“The CHRB will continue to closely monitor and scrutinize activities at Los Alamitos and will take appropriate action as needed.”