To All TOC Members:
The TOC Board wishes to address the events of the past few days at Santa Anita, which have been unsettling to all of us. As you most likely know from media reports, Santa Anita has suspended racing and training indefinitely in the wake of an unusually high number of horses suffering catastrophic injuries. As this is a matter of significant concern for California racing that could have a serious impact on the future of racing in our state, TOC fully supports Santa Anita’s difficult decision to do this.
Along with all other industry stakeholders, TOC believes that our primary concern must always be the safety and welfare of horses and riders. We have been in close communication with the CHRB, CTT, Santa Anita, the Stronach Group, and stakeholders such as the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Los Alamitos as this situation has evolved. In the course of that communication, we have expressed our support for the actions taken to date including the inspection of the racing surfaces and the recent retention of former track superintendent Dennis Moore to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the main track.
We understand at this time that the training track will be open for jogging and galloping as early as tomorrow, with the potential for expanded training on the training track as early as next week. While we cannot give you any specifics at this time regarding the resumption of training or racing on the main track, we will continue to stay in close touch with Santa Anita to monitor the situation as it develops and to support efforts to enhance safety and injury prevention initiatives. We will keep you informed as new developments occur.
In the meantime, we have made arrangements for the cost for horses to move from Santa Anita to Los Alamitos or San Luis Rey Downs to be covered under the Stabling & Vanning reimbursement plan if the move is approved by the stable office. Additionally, there will be free shipping available to and from Golden Gate Fields for horses shipping from Southern California training facilities to race. All horses shipping to Golden Gate must be approved by the Golden Gate Fields racing secretary. For more details on shipping, please contact TOC Director of Racing, Elizabeth Morey, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 734-8175.
As you know, there has been substantial coverage of the horse fatalities at Santa Anita by mainstream media outlets and, in turn, significant awareness, and some criticism, among the general public. In addition, there has naturally been a heightened sensitivity among California regulators and government officials. We are cognizant of this and will be working on behalf of all of our members in the coming days and weeks to reaffirm our commitment to the safety and welfare of the animals in our care and the measures taken on a daily basis to ensure that they have the safest possible environments in which to train and compete.
You may recall that in 2017 we launched a proactive communications platform, CalRacingCares.com, to help increase public awareness of and appreciation for the care and resources provided to our equine athletes. We encourage you to visit this site to refamiliarize yourself with some of the highlights and content and to refer friends, family and associates to it should they inquire about the topic of horse safety. We will continue to work with Santa Anita to the best of our ability to ensure a coordinated response and to help educate the public about our dedication to equine safety and welfare.
Finally and as always, communication is crucial, and it is critically important that we be sensitive and organized with our messaging and supportive of those called upon to speak for the racing industry during this challenging time. Should you get any media inquiries, we ask respectfully that you direct them to TOC President & CEO, Greg Avioli, email@example.com or (619) 609-8761.
Thank you for your support as we work with other industry stakeholders to address this critical issue both in the short term and for the future. As we witnessed after the San Luis Rey Fire, California horsemen and horse women represent the most passionate and caring individuals in our industry. With your help and support we can resolve the current issues before us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns that you would like us to address.