Safety Is The Top Priority? Despite Scrutiny, Los Alamitos Conducts Racing On Rain-Sodden Course

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Times‘ John Cherwa found himself staring at the live feed from Los Alamitos “in horror” because of the sloppy track conditions on which the horses were running.

“The first few races were OK, and then the rains came and came and the track became sloppier and sloppier,” Cherwa wrote in his horse racing newsletter for the LA Times. “The horses on the short Quarter Horse sprints were clearly slipping and sliding and bumping into each other because they couldn’t get traction.”

In the evening’s seventh race, a 3-year-old named Gowdy fell coming out of the starting gate and dislodged his jockey. A statement from Los Al’s marketing and publicity director Orlando Gutierrez explains that Gowdy “locked up from behind” at the start of the race, causing the fall, but that the horse had returned to his stall and “appears to be doing well.”

His jockey, Cruz Mendez, also seems to have escaped major injury since he returned to ride at Los Al on Sunday’s card.

“Why were there horses racing on such an unmanageable track if safety is your top priority?” Cherwa questioned. “The stewards or the track superintendent have the right to suspend racing. In this case, it stopped raining by the eighth and final race. Could racing have been put on hold earlier while the bad weather passed?”

On July 10 last year, the California Horse Racing Board held an emergency meeting to discuss a rash of equine fatalities at Los Alamitos, resulting in a 10-day probationary period. Los Al produced a new plan for equine and rider safety which was approved by the board, including an entry review panel.

CHRB vice chairman Oscar Gonzales spoke out against Los Al’s safety record (29 equine fatalities were reported during racing or training from Dec. 27, 2019 through 2020) at the CHRB’s December meeting, encouraging his fellow commissioners to grant the track only a six-month license. That move prompted Los Al owner Ed Allred to threaten shutting down racing at the Cypress, Calif. track altogether.

The CHRB’s January meeting saw the Los Al license reinstated at a full year, despite two additional equine fatalities recorded on Jan. 17. After the vote was handed down, Gonzales promised increased scrutiny of Los Al’s horse safety record.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

The post Safety Is The Top Priority? Despite Scrutiny, Los Alamitos Conducts Racing On Rain-Sodden Course appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.