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

Santa Anita Park, shown here in 2012.
Santa Anita Park, shown here in 2012.
Frederic J. Brown /AFP/Getty Images

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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.