To the editor: Twenty-one horses died in two months at Santa Anita Park while racing for their lives. This is only part of the sport’s overall brutality.
If a horse isn’t profitable, it’s typically put out to auction, where it is either rescued or picked up by slaughterhouses outside the U.S. What happens from there is another horrific story. The industry overbreeds, picks only the cream of the crop and gets rid of the rest.
I bought a rescued racehorse and now deal with the health issues related to running a horse too young and too hard. It’s an extreme sport for animals that don’t have a choice — and all to make money and entertain.
The sport should go the way of the greyhound races and end.
Rebecca Roberson, Pasadena
To the editor: It has taken 21 fatalities since late December to close the Santa Anita track — for now, at least.
These statistics are grim, but not shocking. Thoroughbreds as young as 2 years old pound down the track on fragile, still-developing legs, which too often snap and lead to euthanasia.
We need to look beyond just track conditions, seemingly the sole focus of Santa Anita’s team of experts, and think much more about the well-being of these beautiful colts and fillies, who begin racing far too early. This crucial fact holds more answers to these tragedies than the latest round of track surface inspections and soil tests.
Teddi Chichester, Orange
To the editor: The woes at Santa Anita are due at least in part to the Bay Meadows Land Co.’s sale, at the end of the 2013 racing season at Hollywood Park, of the land in Inglewood upon which sat that late gem of racetrack, to a Walton family son-in-law.
With nothing better to do with his money, the owner is now building a totally unnecessary $5-billion football stadium.
When Hollywood Park operated, Santa Anita was dark about six months of the year. That gave the track plenty of time to recover from rain and use. Now, with Hollywood Park an increasingly distant memory, Santa Anita is in operation most of the year with less time for the tracks to recover.
And to think that all the patrons of the new Inglewood stadium will probably have no memory of our late beloved Hollywood Park.
Nathaniel J. Friedman, Beverly Hills