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Horse Deaths At Santa Anita Aren't New, The Protests Are

Santa Anita Park, shown here in 2012, has halted races and training to try to determine what is causing the horse deaths.
Frederic J. Brown /AFP/Getty Images
Santa Anita Park, shown here in 2012.

Reports that 29 thoroughbred horses have died at Santa Anita racetrack since December have gotten a lot of play in the media. The number of horse fatalities this racing season is not unusual. But mounting public attention to those deaths is new.

A cluster of fatalities in December and early 2019 drew the attention of  Patrick Battuello and his New York-based group HorseracingWrongs.com. That led to California animal rights advocates affiliated with his group showing up regularly with picket signs at the racetrack. Media coverage amplified the calls for action.