A racing in Southern California has made an unparalleled move in professional horse racing to ban race day medication after the 22nd horse has died on the track since December 26.
Santa Anita Park track made the message open The letter is published Thursday.
The decision comes more than a week after the track was interrupted at Santa Anita indefinitely after 21 horses were killed after having been injured during training or competition on the track within two months.
"What happened at Santa Anita in recent weeks is beyond the heart," says Belinda Stronach, president of The Stronach Group, who owns the track, in the letter.
Princess Lili B, a 3-year racing horse training for her third career began, euthanized at Santa Anita racetrack on Thursday morning after breaking the front legs at the end of half a mile of training, according to The Paulick Report, a horse racing news site.
David Bernstein, owner of Princess Lili B and coach, told KTLA TV in Los Angeles that the race horse was healthy before injury n.
"She was always very good and we never had a problem with her," Bernstein said in an interview with the news station. "We didn't need to train her on any medication. She's just a wonderful field to be around." Stronach on Thursday announced a list of changes to pioneering rules that are likely to dramatically affect professional riders and their horses at Santa Anita.
"We've come up with a watercourse," she added, before explaining a "complete review" of the racetrack's medication policy and other regulations.
In addition to prohibiting race day medication, Lasix, a performance-enhancing medication, is also banned on the course. According to Inverse.com, Lasix prevents the horse's lungs from spontaneously bleeding while driving at high speeds. It is prohibited in other countries but is usually used with race horses in the United States
The Santa Anita Track also made the following regulations:
Increase the ban on legal therapeutic NSAIDs, joint injections, shockwave treatment and anabolic steroids.
Increased time for horses to be in place before a competition.
A major investment by the Stronach group in diagnostic equipment to help with early detection of existing conditions.
Horses in training are allowed only therapeutic medicine with qualified veterinary diagnosis.
Earlier this month, Santa Anita officials ordered further testing of the park's one-off main track after a 4-year-old trap had to be euthanized after an injury during track training. The Stronach group has also completed ground radar testing on the track, which considered it to be "one hundred percent ready" for use.
The nearly two dozen deaths on the track have obscured the reputation of a racetrack once considered among the safest in the sport.
Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of the Stronach Group, told the Associated Press that recent times in California may have affected the path and the health of the horses.
According to the park, 16 horses died long-lasting injuries during racing or training on Santa Anita's dirt track. Five died after racing on the track.
"We believe that [rain] could definitely contribute, even though our experts do not say so," Ritvo told AP. "The tracks here are not built for such weather."