CYPRESS, Calif. (CNS)—Another horse has died at Orange County’s Los Alamitos Race Course—the 25th horse to die from a racing or training injury at the Cypress track this year.
Bob E McGee, a 2-year-old gelding, crossed the finish line in fourth place in the fourth race on Sept. 13, but suffered a catastrophic injury in the cool-down and did a full somersault, throwing jockey Jairo Rangel.
The horse’s death was later confirmed by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB).
Bob E McGee had run four races, all at Los Alamitos. He was owned by Bobby Simmons and trained by Paul C. Jones.
Los Alamitos Race Course was placed on probation by the CHRB in July in response to this year’s spate of horse deaths, essentially putting the facility at risk of having its racing permits suspended.
The CHRB later signed off on a plan aimed at bolstering safety and equine-oversight at the facility.
The plan included adding another veterinarian to be a “roving observer of horses in training, while entering, exiting, or on the track,” as well as a “security steward” who oversees veterinary and barn practices.
The new plan also included an “entry review panel” of experts who have the authority to scratch horses for races.
Since the probation, seven more horses at the track have died, five from racing injures and two from causes listed by the CHRB as “other.”
Nighttime quarter horse racing is continuing at Los Alamitos without fans due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
Santa Anita Postpones Opening Day Due to Bobcat Fire
The opening day of Santa Anita’s autumn season will be pushed back a week until Sept. 25 due to the impact of the massive Bobcat Fire on air quality and the surrounding community, the operators of the racetrack announced Sept. 14.
The racetrack, located in Los Angeles County, is serving as an evacuation site for residents under mandatory evacuation orders.
“Our local community has been deeply impacted by the Bobcat Fire burning for more than a week in the mountains behind us,” said Aidan Butler, executive director of California operations for The Stronach Group.
“The current weather pattern has kept the smoke in the valley and the air quality is quite poor right now.
“The Red Cross is using Santa Anita as the evacuation zone for people—including many of our horsemen—whose homes are less than two miles from here.
“As excited as we are to welcome back live racing, we are first and foremost committed to safety. This is the responsible decision to make at this time so people can plan accordingly.”
Nearly 900 firefighters, backed up by nine water and retardant-dropping aircraft, were battling the 36,366-acre fire on Sept. 14, working to protect communities in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, including Arcadia and Sierra Madre, where some residents were evacuated as flames burned downhill toward their homes.
The cause of the fire, which erupted on Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area, remains under investigation. U.S. Forest Service officials on Sept. 13 pushed back the estimated time for full containment from Oct. 15 to Oct. 30.
Steve Lym, Santa Anita’s vice president and racing secretary, said the stakes races set for the weekend of Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 will be brought back the following weekend, with more than $2 million in purse money up for grabs.
“The smoke has impacted some training schedules, so postponing until next weekend will allow everyone a chance to be ready to go,” Lym said.
“We are planning on filling extra races throughout the meet to give our horsemen the opportunity to run their horses.”
The Chillingworth stakes race is now scheduled for Sept. 25; the Speakeasy on Sept. 26; and the Tokyo City Cup on Sept. 27.