No criminal wrongdoing at Santa Anita racetrack, Latest Racing News - The New Paper
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No criminal wrongdoing at Santa Anita racetrack

There was no criminal animal cruelty or unlawful conduct at Southern California's Santa Anita Park this year, despite a spate of high-profile horse deaths, said Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Investigators looked at a decade's worth of data and found that 49 horses died at Santa Anita Park during the 2018-19 financial year.

This was fewer than the 71 who perished in 2011-12 but more than the 37 who died in 2010-11.

"Horse racing has inherent risks but is a legally sanctioned sport in California," Lacey said in the report.

"Greater precautions are needed to enhance safety and protect both horses and their riders."

Lacey said that, while her office lacks legal jurisdiction to regulate the industry, she plans to sponsor legislation to create greater transparency of veterinary records for horses training and racing on California tracks.

The report also included more than two dozen recommendations on how to improve safety at tracks, including an annual report on equine fatalities, greater government oversight of facilities, potentially stiffer penalties for violations and a telephone hotline to report animal cruelty.

Horse fatalities at the famed venue grabbed headlines this year, including the death of Mongolian Groom during the nationally televised US$6 million (S$8.1 million) Breeders' Cup Classic last month.

Racing at Santa Anita resumes on Saturday. - REUTERS

HORSE RACING