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Is the surface part of why so many horses have died at Santa Anita?

According
to an article by Joe Drape and Corina Knoll in the New York Times, even after Santa Anita Park reopened for racing for
the first time in 3 weeks after the mystifying deaths of nearly two dozen
horses, regulators saw video evidence of performance-enhancing drugs, aka a
milkshake.

In
2010, Santa Anita became one of several prominent tracks to abandon synthetic
racetracks made of sand, rubber and silica after a short-lived experiment. The
fatality rates had been far lower, but maintaining the tracks was vexing and
expensive.

Many
didn’t like them. Trainers complained the surface was causing an uptick in
soft-tissue injuries. Some bettors found the newfangled racetracks difficult to
make winning bets on. Owners and breeders said the tracks favored turf horses.

After
Santa Anita returned to its traditional mix of sand and dirt, catastrophic
injury rates were not out of line with those elsewhere. This season, though,
the company courted danger by consistently running races, often regardless of
conditions, during one of Southern California’s wettest and coldest winters in
decades.

Read the entire article here