After three more horses died in the New Year at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., state Sen. Bill Dodd has introduced his second legislation in an effort to improve safety in horse racing.
Dodd’s bill builds on the reforms established in 2019, a year which saw the death of 37 horses at Santa Anita. The senate bill allowed the California Horse Racing Board to discontinue racing events at tracks deemed as dangerous.
“We must do everything we can to put safety first and stop unacceptable horse deaths,” Dodd says. “We must ensure track conditions are right and horses are fit before they hit the starting gate so we aren’t jeopardizing them and their jockeys.”
Concerns surrounding the Santa Anita track have been known for some time, but the primary dangers are only now being looked further into. The growing problem acts as a reminder for how crucial the thorough regulations are for racing. Aside from creating safer conditions for tracks, there is often a focus on issues surrounding personal protective equipment, long-term health impacts and jockey weight reduction.
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The newest bill — Senate Bill 800 — aims to fix several primary issues occurring at many tracks, including changes in veterinary medical reviews and increased transparency in drug testing. These along with other sections of the bill have been suggested by the board, as well as District Attorney Jackie Lacey, all to assure the highest quality of safety for everyone involved in the sport.
In the meantime, the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce will conduct a hearing at 10:30 a.m. (EST) on “Legislation to Promote the Health and Safety of Racehorses” or the Horseracing Integrity Act. A livestream can be watched by visiting the committee’s YouTube channel.