Santa Anita Park announced several changes to its racing schedule Sunday, as officials look forward to the expected reopening of the track on Friday after a spate of 22 horse deaths at the park since Dec. 26.
If the California Horse Racing Board grants its approval at its meeting Thursday, Santa Anita Park will reopen for live racing on Friday for the first time since March 5.
The Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes will headline proceedings, with first post time at 1 p.m.
As part of the revised schedule, the 82nd running of the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap, which was originally scheduled for March 9, will now be run on April 6, when the $1 million Santa Anita Derby headlining a day that will also offer a third Grade I stakes, the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks.
Also on April 6, the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine and the Grade III, $150,000 Providencia will be complemented by two additional stakes, the $200,000 Evening Jewel and the Echo Eddie.
Along with the Santa Anita Handicap, two other graded stakes originally scheduled for March 9 have been rescheduled and will now be included in a total of six graded stakes to be run on March 30: the Grade I, $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) and the Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos will also be joined by the Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile (originally scheduled for March 16), the Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon (originally scheduled for March 16), and the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes.
For a complete listing of Santa Anita’s remaining schedule, please visit santaanita.com.
Two weekends ago, a deal was finalized between the track and the Thoroughbred Owners of California to thoroughly revise the facility’s medication policies in the aftermath of the deaths.
The agreement includes the following elements:
— Complete transparency of all veterinary records;
— Strict limitations on the use of any pain or anti-inflammatory medication and treatment, including legal therapeutic NSAIDS, joint injections, shockwave therapy, and anabolic steroids;
— Trainers must apply for permission to work a horse (a timed, high-speed training exercise) at least 48 hours in advance;
— No therapeutic medications of treatments will be allowed without a qualified veterinary diagnosis from a state licensed veterinarian;
— Significant and strict Out-of-Competition Testing;
— Increasing the time required for horses to be on-site prior to a race;
— A substantial investment by The Stronach Group in diagnostic equipment to aid in the early detection of pre-existing conditions.
The new agreement also address use of the riding crop, sometimes used by jockeys to make horses run faster.
The changes have not placated some animal-rights advocates, who want horse-racing to be banned entirely and plan to protest Friday at Santa Anita.