Seven Equine Fatalities in March Raises Caution, but Not Alarm, from CHRB

In the wake of news that seven racehorses at properties under the jurisdiction of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) died in March, several commissioners and staffers at Thursday's monthly board meeting raised the verbal equivalent of a yellow flag with the goal of preventing future fatalities that would equate to a spike into red-alert territory. "Our injury rate, death rate, is creeping up," chairman Gregory Ferraro, DVM, said after CHRB equine medical director Jeff Blea gave the statistics in his report. "Do you have any solutions, reasons, comments about...

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Palmer: 'PET Scan Not Appropriate As Initial Screening Tool'

New York State Equine Medical Director Dr. Scott Palmer has described Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan as a "fantastic diagnostic tool" and that "it can play a very important role" in helping to identify and pinpoint subtle musculoskeletal injuries in horses, but that the scan is not the best initial screening tool in singling out horses at risk for catastrophic injuries. Palmer addressed the issue during an equine health and safety briefing held at Tuesday's meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission and also offered some preliminary findings  on...

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HISA To Conduct 'Emergency Veterinary Summit' To Address CD Fatalities

With the number of equine fatalities during the current spring meeting at Churchill Downs now up to 12, officials at the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) are convening an 'emergency veterinary summit' to be held Tuesday, May 30, in Kentucky. "HISA's highest priority is the safety and well-being of the horses and riders competing under its jurisdiction," a HISA statement released Monday begins. "We remain deeply concerned by the unusually high number of equine fatalities at Churchill Downs over the last several weeks. We continue to seek answers, and...

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Letter to the Editor: Doug Daniels, DVM, National HBPA President

After reading both the Bennet and Parkin article published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association entitled "Fifteen risk factors associated with sudden death in Thoroughbred racehorses in North America (2009-2021)" followed by the TDN analysis of that article, I have become increasingly aggravated over the last three weeks from the implied message portrayed by each. The dramatic click-bait headline "Horses on Lasix at Increased Risk of Sudden Death" is unwarranted by the facts. When compared to the end of the article, one becomes more frustrated with the...

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Study: Horses On Lasix At Increased Risk of 'Sudden Death'

A new study published this week in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and funded by the Grayson Jockey Club Foundation, has found that horses racing on Lasix were 62% more likely to die within three days of racing than were horses running without the diuretic. Fatalities due to catastrophic musculoskeletal injury were not included in the study. The use of Lasix was one of 15 risk factors identified in the report. The study, relying on information from the Equine Injury Database, examined starts made by 284,387 Thoroughbreds...

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Report: Baltas Under Scrutiny at Santa Anita

Trainer Richard Baltas is currently restricted from entering horses nor are his horses permitted to engage in timed works at Santa Anita Park, according to the Paulick Report. "We are conducting an investigation into matters concerning trainer Richard Baltas," Aidan Butler, chief operating officer of 1/ST, which runs Santa Anita, told the Paulick Report via text message. "Pending completion of that investigation and any final decision based on the results, horses trained by Mr. Baltas are not permitted to enter races at 1/ST Racing venues nor engage in timed works."...

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Hollendorfer Denied Injunction to Race at Santa Anita This Winter

In a hearing conducted Friday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer--barred from The Stronach Group (TSG)-owned facilities since June of 2019 due to a number of equine fatalities in his care amid the well-publicized Santa Anita welfare crisis--was not granted a prohibitory injunction to be able to enter and race horses under his name at Santa Anita for the upcoming 2021-2022 winter/spring meet. According to Hollendorfer's attorney, Drew Couto, "the judge declined the motion saying that although it asked for a prohibitory injunction, in the court's...

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