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Tikkun Olam Becomes 3rd Horse in 3 Days to Die at Santa Anita Race Track

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2020

Members of the group Horseracing Wrongs and their supporters hold a
MARK RALSTON/Getty Images

Tikkun Olam, a four-year-old gelding, suffered undisclosed injuries and was euthanized at Santa Anita on Sunday. He was the third horse to die at the track in as many days.

California Horse Racing Board spokesperson Mike Martin told NBC Los Angeles that the gelding suffered "catastrophic" injuries during a training session but no riders or other horses were injured. A four-year-old gelding named Uncontainable and a six-year-old gelding named Harliss were euthanized earlier this week.

The track issued a statement Saturday:

"Santa Anita remains committed to transparency. Our safety statistics and incident reports are publicly available on our website at SantaAnita.com/safety. Home to 2,000 horses, Santa Anita Park is one of the largest equine training facilities in the United States. Horses raced or trained at Santa Anita Park more than 420,000 times over the last year with a 99.991% safety rate."

There have been at least 42 deaths at Santa Anita since December 2018, five of which have come in less than a month. The Arcadia, California, track has been under scrutiny because of the rise of deaths, but an investigation into the track by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office that concluded in December found no wrongdoing.

Animal advocacy group PETA, via spokeswoman Brooke Rossi, called on the state of California to suspend all racing at Santa Anita:

"Three dead horses in three days requires immediate action. The California Horse Racing Board was recently given the authority, in legislation backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, to suspend racing, and now it must do exactly that. There is no sense in the board allowing racing and deaths to continue until it enacts all its own pending regulations and acts on the recommendations of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. If it takes the closure of a track to stop the deaths, then close the track."

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Santa Anita recently introduced a PET scan machine that will allow horses to have fetlock scans without having to undergo anesthesia. That could allow doctors to find preexisting conditions and limit the number of fetlock injuries suffered by the thoroughbreds. 

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