California horse racing experienced a 50-percent decline in equine fatalities over the last two fiscal years.
This was largely due to steps taken by the California Horse Racing Board along with the entire California horse racing industry.
144 horses died in fiscal year 2018-19 from racing and/or training injuries while stabled at facilities under jurisdiction of the CHRB.
That number dropped to 72 in 2020-21, down by half.
This progress did not come about suddenly. The list of safety initiatives on the CHRB website dates back decades.
Previous racing commissioners demonstrated a strong commitment to racing safety.
Racetrack owners and management have provided leadership and resources.
Horsemen’s groups have provided encouragement and support with the cooperation of owners, trainers, jockeys, veterinarians, and other stakeholders in the industry.
Among the more significant actions:
Rules limiting the use of the riding crop, while enhancing penalties for violation of those rules.
Trainers are required to participate in a full postmortem examination review to make them aware of the nature of the injuries and to discuss ways to prevent such injuries in the future.
Official Veterinarians are required to do diagnostic imaging prior to removing horses from the restrictive Veterinarian’s List and permitting them to train or compete.
Significant steps were taken to make veterinary treatments transparent to authorities and in certain cases new owners.
The reform endeavors of the CHRB continue in all areas of animal welfare.
Specifically with emphasis on standardizing and utilizing algorithms to identify high risk horses, completing race-day medication prohibition, applying a science-based approach to making track surfaces safer, and exploring other ways to reduce and eliminate human and equine injuries.
Kudos to the CHRB for its on-going efforts to reduce equine injuries and fatalities.
Now could you do something about Baffert ?