Santa Anita, struggling to regain public confidence with safe racing during its fall meeting, had a sixth horse fatality at the track since Sept. 18 when Bye Bye Beautiful, a 2-year-old filly, broke down on the backstretch Sunday and was euthanized.
Bye Bye Beautiful was running in a six-furlong maiden special weight race when she suddenly seemed in distress and jockey Tiago Pereira pulled her up. It is the second fatality in three days and third since Oct. 19.
“After being pulled up past the 1/2-mile pole, Bye Bye Beautiful was immediately evaluated by a team of on-track veterinarians, led by Santa Anita Park veterinarian Dr. Dana Stead, and transported in the equine ambulance,” Santa Anita said in a statement. “Dr. Stead observed that the filly had suffered a right forelimb lateral condylar fracture with medial sesamoid involvement and, because of the severity of the injury, made the decision to humanely euthanize the horse.”
It was the filly’s second race, having finished fourth in her debut at Los Alamitos on Sept. 13. She worked four times since that race. Bye Bye Beautiful was a $210,000 purchase at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale. She was trained by Eric Kruljac.
It was the 36th fatality since Dec. 30 at Santa Anita. In the spring, the track instituted major safety reforms mostly tied to medication and veterinary oversight. However, despite the additional scrutiny, there have been six fatalities, three racing and three training, compared with four in last year’s fall meeting, which had bigger fields and more races. This meeting has one week remaining.
This is sure to raise the temperature on next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup, which will be held Friday and Saturday. After 30 fatalities during the winter/spring meeting, the Breeders’ Cup brought the idea before the board whether the event should be moved. The board voted unanimously to keep it at Santa Anita.
“The Breeders’ Cup and the entire horse racing community are saddened by the loss of Bye Bye Beautiful during racing at Santa Anita,” the Breeders’ Cup said in a statement Sunday. “We continue to have confidence in the safety protocols and reforms that have been implemented by Santa Anita to promote equine safety.”