Sports

Breeders' Cup to add to safety measures at Santa Anita

Friday, July 12, 2019

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LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — The Breeders' Cup will increase the number of veterinarians on site during its world championships this fall at Santa Anita, where 30 horses died during the racing meet that recently concluded.

That's according to Craig Fravel, president and chief executive of the Breeders' Cup, who said reaction to the board of directors' decision to keep the two-day event at the historic Southern California track has been “very supportive”.

“People had every opportunity to know what the facts are before they decided,” he said by phone Monday while driving from San Diego to Los Angeles. “The fact that it was a unanimous vote is reflective of the sentiment in the room.”

Santa Anita will host for a record 10th time on November 1-2.

Besides the 14 vets onsite during Breeders' Cup week, there will be 20 on hand during the two days of racing, Fravel said.

“Every horse gets examined two times, probably more,” he said. “We have the strictest medication rules. We'll be looking at horses throughout the summer and fall before we get to the Breeders' Cup. We certainly don't mind people asking those questions.”

The event will be run under the house rules adopted by track owner, The Stronach Group, to improve safety. Those include a reduction in the use of race-day Lasix, an anti-bleeding medication.

Fravel said there wasn't one factor that swayed the Breeders' Cup board to keep the event at Santa Anita.

“We've been following the situation since it began to evolve in January, February, March,” he said. “It was a combination of things: medication reforms, track surface improvements and changes in management.”

Belinda Stronach, president and chief executive of TSG, addressed the board at last month's meeting in Lexington, Kentucky.

Fravel is travelling to Europe next week to meet with racing officials there.

“The Europeans were incredibly supportive,” he said. “I think they believe the problems are being addressed. They have confidence in the Breeders' Cup team.”

At the same time, Fravel received e-mails from others who are unhappy about keeping the event at Santa Anita.

“People who have different perspectives have let me know, some more politely than others,” he said. “I certainly understand people's perspectives on this.”

Racing at Santa Anita resumes September 25.


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