Santa Anita Racetrack Cancels Racing Indefinitely After Deaths of 21 Horses

(ARCADIA, Calif.) — Santa Anita has canceled racing indefinitely to re-examine its dirt surface after the deaths of 21 horses in the last two months.

Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that racing won’t be held this weekend, when two major races were scheduled: the San Felipe for 3-year-old Kentucky Derby hopefuls and the Santa Anita Handicap for older horses.

Ritvo wouldn’t speculate on when training and racing would resume. After this weekend, races were to be run again starting March 14 at the storied racetrack that will host the Breeders’ Cup world championships for a record 10th time this fall.

“In whole, we feel confident in the track and we’re just being very proactive,” Ritvo said. “We want to do all the testing that needs to be done. When we believe we’re in good shape, we’ll start to train over it again.”

The Daily Racing Form first reported the cancellation.

The latest fatality occurred during training on Tuesday, when a 4-year-old filly got injured and was euthanized.

“Obviously, one horse is too many,” Ritvo said. “The recent rash is just horrible. We need to definitely take a step back and evaluate everything.”

Santa Anita received 11½ inches of rain and had unusually cold temperatures in February, but it’s unclear whether track conditions played a role in any of the fatalities.

The National Weather Service was forecasting 1 to 2 inches of rain in Los Angeles County starting overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday.

“We think that (rain) could definitely contribute even though our experts are telling us not,” Ritvo said. “The tracks out here are built not for weather like that.”

Ritvo said officials are “a little bit concerned” with the latest impending storm and how the dirt surface can change from muddy to fast in a short time.

Besides re-examining the dirt track, Ritvo said all racing protocols would be looked at.

“We won’t rush it,” he said. “Everybody takes a deep breath.”

Ritvo was uncertain whether the San Felipe and Santa Anita Handicap would be rescheduled.

“Those are huge races,” he said. “We hope so.”

Seven deaths have occurred during races on the dirt oval at Santa Anita since the track’s winter meet began on Dec. 26. Five have occurred on the turf course and nine came during training on dirt. The highest-profile horse to be euthanized was Battle of Midway, winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The 5-year-old bay also finished third in the 2017 Kentucky Derby for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The horse suffered injuries during a workout on Feb. 23.

Last week, Santa Anita was closed for two days while the dirt surface underwent extensive testing and was declared fit for racing.

Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally said 4-year-old filly Lets Light the Way “took a bad step or something” on Tuesday.

He said the injury was a shattered sesamoid in her right front leg. Sesamoid bones provide anchor points for the two branches of the suspensory ligament. The bones are under stress each time a horse takes a step. Lets Light the Way was X-rayed and later euthanized.

“I think the weather has a lot to do with it,” said McAnally, whose wife, Debbie, owned the filly.

“Santa Anita has been a wonderful track, and they’ve done all kinds of tests,” McAnally said. “I don’t know what else they could do. It’s a fluky thing.”

Also Tuesday, Vyjack was pulled up after completing a five-furlong workout, according to trainer Phil D’Amato. The graded stakes-winning 9-year-old gelding was taken off the track in a van. But D’Amato told the Daily Racing Form that Vyjack “took a couple of funny steps” and was OK.

The number of deaths has drawn both concern and criticism. A handful of animal-rights activists gathered outside Santa Anita’s main gate on Sunday, carrying signs and shouting.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk agreed with the track’s decision to close.

“This was the right thing to do,” she said in a statement. “The track should remain closed until the California Horse Racing Board dumps the drugs entirely, or injured horses whose soreness is masked by legally allowed medication will continue to sustain shattered bones. PETA renews its call for a criminal investigation into the trainers and veterinarians who may have put injured horses on the track, leading to their deaths.”

Ritvo said, “The first and most important thing is the health and welfare of the horses and jockeys.”

In 2017, 20 deaths occurred among a total of 8,463 starts over a span of 122 racing days at Santa Anita, according to the most recent figures compiled by The Jockey Club. That’s a rate of 2.36 deaths per 1,000 starts.

There were 1.61 deaths per 1,000 starts in the U.S. in 2017, according to the most recent figures from the Equine Injury Database, compiled by The Jockey Club. That was a slight increase in the rate of fatal injury compared with 2016, when there were 1.54 deaths per 1,000 starts.

The deaths were more frequent on dirt surfaces (1.74 per 1,000 starts) than on turf (1.36).

Santa Anita was closed for two days last week while the dirt surface was tested.

Mick Peterson, a soil and safety expert brought in from the University of Kentucky, proclaimed the track “100 percent ready” to resume racing.

Peterson said radar verified that all of the silt, clay and sand, as well as the moisture content, were consistent throughout the track. Its dirt surface was peeled back 5 inches and reapplied.

Since Peterson’s comments, two horses have died, including McAnally’s filly. The 86-year-old trainer is one of the most respected in horse racing and has won three Eclipse Awards as the nation’s outstanding trainer.

Lets Light the Way had one win in four career starts and earnings of $ 18,500, according to Equibase. She last raced Feb. 2 at Santa Anita. McAnally purchased the filly for $ 15,000.

The other death occurred Saturday during the third race when 4-year-old filly Eskenforadrink was in the lead. Jockey Geovanni Franco pulled her up with an injury to her front leg. The filly was taken off the track and was later euthanized.

Track officials announced Tuesday that a former track superintendent is returning immediately to Santa Anita as a consultant on site as “a precautionary measure with regard to the condition of the one-mile main track.” The consultant, Dennis Moore, worked in Arcadia from 2014 until retiring Dec. 31. He currently holds the same position at Del Mar and Los Alamitos racetrack in Orange County.

In 2014, Moore oversaw a major renovation of the dirt surface using sand that was dug up in the coastal suburb of El Segundo for construction projects at Los Angeles International Airport. The sand was screened for foreign materials and large rocks.

At the time, track officials said the reddish-brown sand would ensure balanced drainage during periods of wet weather and a consistent, safe cushion for horses year-round. That’s important at Santa Anita, which added several additional weeks of racing to its schedule after the closure of Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California, in December 2013.

Sports – TIME

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Style Scenario: Santa on Christmas Eve

What are you going to wear? Or in this instance, what is HE going wear? St. Nick has a huge job ahead of him. Lots of miles to cover, lots of soot filled chimneys to get down, lots of cookie crumbs & milk spills to avoid. It’s a dirty job, but that doesn’t mean Santa can’t look sharp while doing it. Here’s what he might wear while putting another 25k-50k miles on the sleigh. (Top Photo Credit)

Style Scenario: Santa on Christmas Eve | Dappered.com

The Sweater: Suitsupply Wool/Cashmere Turtleneck – $ 169. A splurge, but… c’mon. He’s gotta be comfortable and look great on the big night. Great for keeping the arctic blast off his neck. 70 % wool and 30% cashmere. Mrs. Claus has been experimenting with paleo eating habits this year, and in the process St. Nick has shed a little weight around the middle thanks to cutting out most carbs. Thus, a trimmer fitting sweater from Suitsupply this time around. Want something cheaper? Try this from Orvis or this from Woolovers.

The Pants: BR x Kevin Love Soft Stretch Athletic Tapered Chino – $ 43.99 ($ 98). Banana Republic’s collaboration with Kevin Love has produced some really, really nice stuff. And now that these are on sale and an additional half off? They’re at a GAP level price point.

The Watch: Citizen Nighthawk – $ 189.98. With all those tight brick chimneys, this isn’t the night to break out the rose gold Rolex that Mrs. Claus gave him for a 1500th anniversary present. Yes, the Elves in R&D finally got around to updating the software on the sled, so he can now keep track of all the time zones and his sleigh-to-tree-to-sleigh split times with the on-board computer, but just in case they have a power failure he favors an aviation style watch. You never know when you’re gonna need a slide rule. It came in super handy that one year when the alternator failed over Prague.

The Belt: Weifert Stretch Woven Elastic Belt – $ 11.58. Yes that’s a stretchy woven belt. Do you have any idea as to how many cookies he’s got to wolf down that night?

The Coat: Custom Gore-Tex Cashmere-Lined Topcoat w/ Horween Leather Belt. One of a kind. Made by the Mrs. w/ help from Elf Q Branch. Not pictured: Matching hat with drop down night vision equipped face shield, as well as a wireless blue tooth ear piece connected to NORAD via the on-sleigh wi-fi hotspot.

The Base Layer: L.L. Bean Made in Canada Cotton/Wool Union Suit – $ 69.00. Santa’s a classics guy, so although the new-fangled neoprene base layers may wick moisture better, he’s still going with a traditional union suit. At least it does have a layer of wool in there, so that’ll function a bit better than the super old-school all cotton long johns.

The Socks: Wigwam Pikes Pro Lightweight Outdoor Crew Socks in Charcoal – $ 17. Nylon/Merino blend with enough cushioning and blister prevention properties to keep his feet happy while circumnavigating the globe.

The Boots: Allen Edmonds Longbranch in Black – $ 276 ($ 395). With red laces, of course. Port Washington isn’t that far from his place, so Santa’s been frequenting Allen Edmonds for years. The Longbranch is like an even tougher version of the Dalton. Wingtip details, textured leather, and a lug sole. Perfect for Christmas Eve, with all of those slippery rooftops and what not.

The Air Freshener: Car Freshener Royal Pine – $ 0.77. You try sitting behind eight tiny reindeer (or nine, depending on the weather) for an entire evening.

The Nice/Naughty List + Pen: Waterproof Field Notes – $ 12.95 | Fisher Space Pen – $ 40. Were you expecting an iPad? The master list stays on the scrolls at the pole, but for the big night, a duplicate is transcribed to a pack of weather resistant “Expedition” Field Notes. Meanwhile, the pen works in extreme temperatures and will write from any angle. Even in zero gravity. And that’s perfect for maintaining order on the list when Blitzen gets a wild hair up his tuckus and leads the team on spontaneous inverted aerial maneuvers over the Aegean.

The Gloves: Ralph Lauren Quilted Gloves in Black – $ 46.80 ($ 78). Warm, but also offers the dexterity and durability to handle the reins with authority. Touch screen compatible too, so he can easily swipe through his various routes for the evening.

The Goggles: Mark 4 Split Lens Flight Goggles – $ 88Sheepskin face cushion. Prescription progressive lenses by the Reykjavik Costco Optical Department. After market heads up display via DARPA.

The Cap/Crash Helmet: Shearling Sheepskin Leather Aviator Cap – $ 49.99. Santa has taken some spills on rooftops over the millennia, so to stay compliant with concussion protocol, Papa Elf has recently added this to St. Nick’s kit. Sheepskin base keeps him warm, while the safety team has added aftermarket padding based on the crystalline atomic structure of marshmallow fluff.


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Santa submerges in Florida Keys marine sanctuary

Associated Press

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NORAD will keep Santa Tracker running despite shutdown

Jingle bells at the North American Aerospace Defense Command will be ringing as usual on Christmas Eve — in spite of the partial government shutdown — as the US military tracks Santa’s journey around the globe. The elves at NORAD who have plotted Kris Kringle’s path on radar for the last 62 years will continue…
News | New York Post

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Tell your kids the truth: Santa is real

I ran into a neighbor and her daughter in our lobby recently. The daughter dashed for the stairs, while her mom and I waited for the elevator. I thought the girl was trying to beat her mother to their apartment. Following elevator etiquette, I gave the mom a little smile and a nod. She sighed,…
Opinion | New York Post

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Multiple Santa Clauses Were No Match for the Wrath of Gritty

Actually it’s Santa who better watch out, specifically for Gritty.

Since the first evidence of Gritty’s existence in September, the Philadelphia Flyers mascot’s rapscallion reputation has been legendary.

And he upped the ante during the first intermission at the Philadelphia Flyers game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia when he took down more than one “Santa.”

Gritty was dressed as Kris Kringle himself in a traditional Coco Cola-ad style red velvet suit trimmed with white fur and hat. But some of the goalies skating around the arena were in Santa attire too. And apparently there was room for only one St. Nick in the house.

So the wide-eyed furry mascot the color of Tang was filmed chasing down other Santas to bulldoze them, leaving some of his victims face down on the ice. After he crushed his first target, it was clear Gritty was a hooligan unleashed on a war path.

He proceeded to body check other Santas, and smack them on the heads with a Christmas wreath prop. No one was fast enough to skate away from Gritty.

It may be only Gritty’s first season, but he already introduced us to the sport of Santa sacking on ice.

The Flyers won 3-2, and it’s safe to say that Gritty will be on the naughty list for his lifetime.

Get a load of Gritty’s latest antics below.

People were into it.

Sports – TIME

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Thanks, Santa – A Cold Dose of Reality for the Holidays | The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

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Being Santa Claus makes this Orthodox man a ‘better Jew’

Why is this Atlanta-based Santa Claus different from all other Santas? He’s an Orthodox Jew. And Rick Rosenthal, 66, takes being a light unto the nations pretty seriously. For the past seven years, he’s been a full-time Kris Kringle, deploying his signature bushy white beard and cheery disposition to the delight of children looking for…
Entertainment | New York Post

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Man Arrested In Texas After Telling Kids Santa Isn’t Real

DALLAS (AP) — Police say a 31-year-old protester who told children Santa Claus is not real has been arrested for trespassing at a North Texas church.

Aaron Urbanski was arrested Saturday after authorities were called to a church in Cleburne, which was hosting a breakfast with Santa event. Police say they found three people demonstrating outside the church after responding to a trespassing complaint.

Authorities say Urbanski refused to leave and continued to cause a disturbance. Urbanski, who was charged with criminal trespass, has been booked into the Johnson County Law Enforcement Center.

Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain weighed in on Facebook, saying “Don’t Mess With Santa!” The mayor continued: “Guess they wanted coal in their stockings to go with a court appearance.”

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10 great pubs, chosen by Santa and other Christmas workers

From a turkey farmer to a choirmaster, we ask the people who help make Christmas special where they go for a festive pint or two

Sarah Mitchell, assistant manager at the Churchill Arms, Britain’s ‘most festive pub’
Every Christmas the Churchill is decorated with loads of Christmas trees and lights. In 2016 we got a lot of media coverage in the UK and abroad, so suddenly everyone was talking about us as the most festive pub in the country. This year we have 95 trees; inside the walls are draped with lights and we play Christmas songs on a loop. I love it, but I think some staff get sick of hearing Mariah Carey 20 times a day. The pub we all head to after work is the Mall Tavern, two minutes away. It’s completely different to the Churchill – we are a cosy, traditional pub with a fire, whereas the Mall is a craft-beer gastropub with 20 beers and ales to choose from. At the moment they have a beer and burger pop-up with a choice of about five burgers.
71 Palace Gardens Terrace, London W8, themallw8.com, open 24 Dec midday-10.30pm, closed 25th and 26th. The Churchill (119 Kensington Church Street) is open 24 Dec from 11am-midnight, 25th noon-2pm (drinks only), 26th 11am-11pm

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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