The Sports Report: It's time to stop racing and replace the track at Santa Anita

The Sports Report: It's time to stop racing and replace the track at Santa Anita
Horses race at Santa Anita. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Howdy everyone, my name is Houston Mitchell, proprietor of this here newsletter. Let’s get right to the news.

Horse Racing


Well, another horse died at Santa Anita on Sunday. Arms Runner, a 5-year-old gelding, fell on the dirt track crossover of a 6 1/2-furlong race on the hillside turf course. He appeared to suffer a catastrophic injury to his right front leg and was euthanized.

This makes 23 horses to die at Santa Anita since Dec. 26.

“While this incident happened during competition on a track that has been deemed by independent experts to be safe,” Santa Anita said in a statement, “we are working closely with the [CHRB] to understand if there was anything additional that we could have done to prevent [Sunday’s] tragedy.”

It’s time to stop racing at Santa Anita until more drastic steps are taken. You can change or ban the amount of medications given to a horse, and you can stop jockeys from using their riding crop, but none of that changes the fact that 23 horses have died at Santa Anita since Dec. 26. If those numbers were people the sport would be shut down. I’m not saying the life of a horse and a person is equivalent. But what I am saying is the life of a horse has some intrinsic value and it’s time to stop turning a blind eye to it.

“But this is what they were bred to do,” some of you will say. “Making these horses stop would be damaging to them.” Yes. You know what else is damaging to them? Dying.

In my opinion, Santa Anita needs to replace the entire track. And why do I focus on the track and not some other cause, like medication or riding crops? Because 23 horses haven’t died in three months at any other track. There has to be some sort of problem with the Santa Anita track.

We’ve been very lucky that no jockeys have been seriously injured, or even worse, from one of these incidents. Let’s hope that’s not what it will take for the outcry to be so overwhelming that drastic steps be taken.


Danilo Gallinari scored a game-high 27 points and JaMychal Green added 15 points and five rebounds as the Clippers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 113-96.

A look at the Western Conference playoff standings with only a handful of games remaining. All eight teams listed have clinched a playoff spot, with the first place team playing eight place, second place playing seventh, etc., in the first round.

1. Golden State, 52-24, ---

2. Denver, 51-25, 1 GB

3. Houston, 49-28, 3.5 GB

4. Portland, 48-28, 4 GB


5. Utah, 46-30, 6 GB

6. Clippers, 47-31, 6 GB

7. San Antonio, 44-33, 8.5 GB

8. Oklahoma City, 44-33, 8.5 GB


The Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the eighth to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-7, on Sunday to win three of four in the series. The Dodgers scored 42 runs in the series and look like an offensive powerhouse. Then again, it’s only four games, so let’s not call them the new Murderer’s Row just yet. But there’s something about 42 and the Dodgers that just sounds right, doesn’t it. Like 42 is an important part of their history or something.

Meanwhile, the Angels’ offense is struggling. They scored only one run in a 2-1 loss to Oakland. Only three guys on the team are hitting above .200.

March Madness

A look at the Elite 8 results for the men’s tournament:

Sunday’s men’s Elite Eight results

No. 5 Auburn 77, No. 2 Kentucky 71 (OT) (read game story here)

No. 2 Michigan St. 68, No. 1 Duke 67 (read game story here)

Saturday’s men’s Final Four schedule

All times Pacific

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 5 Auburn, 3 p.m., CBS

No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 3 Texas Tech, 5:45 p.m., CBS

A look at the Elite 8 results for the women’s tournament

Sunday’s women’s Elite Eight results

No. 2 Connecticut 80, No. 1 Louisville 73

No. 2 Oregon 88, No. 1 Mississippi St. 84

Today’s women’s Elite Eight schedule

No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 2 Iowa, 4 p.m., ESPN2

No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Stanford, 6 p.m., ESPN2

Your vote

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Lakers newsletter, written by Tania Ganguli. Subscribe here.

Horse racing newsletter, written by John Cherwa. Subscribe here.

Boxing/MMA newsletter, written by Lance Pugmire. Subscribe here.

Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.

Odds and Ends


With LeBron James shelved, Lakers match their most lopsided win of the season…. Kings captain Anze Kopitar to cross another milestone in storied career…. Your L.A. sports bucket list should include a visit to the Arcadia Invitational…. Nasa Hataoka overtakes Inbee Park to win LPGA's Kia Classic in Carlsbad…. The Galaxy defeat the Portland Timbers, 2-1.

Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)

San Francisco at Dodgers, 7 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Angels at Seattle, 7 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Calgary at Kings, 7 p.m., PRIME

Born on this date

1939: Baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro

1964: NBA player Kevin Duckworth

1964: NHL player Scott Stevens

1965: NFL player Jumbo Elliot

1965: NBA player Mark Jackson

Died on this date

1993: Race car driver Alan Kulwicki, 38 (plane crash)

1996: Umpire John McSherry, 51, heart attack during game

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.