On Opening Weekend, Another Horse Dies at Santa Anita

Kathy Guillermo, a senior vice president at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, called on the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to release the findings of a continuing investigation into the horse deaths in California. Guillermo and PETA have been working closely with the Stronach Group and regulators on rule changes.

“Tragically, we have no answers, no mandate for the use of CT scan technology to detect the pre-existing injuries that cause broken ankles, no switch to safer synthetic tracks — which PETA has requested — and no end in sight to the deaths,” she said in a statement. “The horses may not get a funeral, but racing is certainly digging its own grave.

Emtech had a history of physical problems.

In October 2018, the colt was claimed — or purchased for the price of $75,000 — by another owner after his debut race at Santa Anita. Standard procedure calls for state veterinarians to inspect any horse whose ownership changes. After that inspection, Emtech was found to be unsound, and the sale was voided.

The colt was then placed on a list for observation by state veterinarians. He remained there until June, when he passed the required workout for removal from the list, according to California regulators.

He was on the panel’s special post-entry and pre-raceday examination list for a race in July at Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, Calif., and one in August at Del Mar near San Diego.

“After passing 5 examinations and racing successfully for those races, he was not flagged by the panel for special attention in his subsequent races other than his required pre-race examinations,” Rick Arthur, the equine medical director for California, said in a statement.

Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinarian for the Stronach Group, said the company would “open an immediate review into what factors could have contributed to Emtech’s injury.”