The Stronach Group issued a statement Wednesday in response to comments from a spokesman for California Governor Gavin Newsom published in a Monday New York Times story entitled 3 Horses Die in 3 Days at Santa Anita, Prompting Fresh Criticism of Racetrack.
In an email to the Times, Newsom’s press secretary Jesse Melgar said: “While the California Horse Racing Board and Santa Anita have made progress in reducing equine fatalities over the past year and C.H.R.B. has made recommendations to further improve horse safety, Governor Newsom remains concerned and believes more must be done. Despite implementing new safety review standards–which are now proving to be a new national model– too many horses are getting injured or dying as we saw over the weekend.”
The Stronach Group’s statement was as follows:
“Governor Newsom’s office is correct in acknowledging that we have made progress in reducing equine fatalities and we too recognize that there is still more work to be done. At Santa Anita, we continue to search for additional ways to improve safety and transparency and are fully committed to achieving the highest standards of care in Thoroughbred racing. Since March 2019, we have advocated for and implemented safety reforms unseen in our sport for generations. We are one of the country’s largest racetracks and training centers with 3000 dedicated horse people who work diligently to ensure that the 420,000 racing and training sessions that occur every year are conducted under the safest possible conditions.
“Each and every day, our priority is returning the horses who race and train at our facility to the safety of their barn. We will continue to build on the reforms in place while doing everything within our power to push for further meaningful reforms that put horse and rider safety at the forefront.”