Four racehorses have died over the past two weeks at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, prompting activists to call for the East Bay racetrack to shutter immediately.
"Every day this track is open is an opportunity for another dead horse. It's atrocious they plan on remaining open for another season. How many more horses do they need to kill?" said Bay Area resident Diana Navon.
The Stronach Group, which owns Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita in Southern California, announced in July that the East Bay track would be closing by the end of 2023. That has since been revised and the track is expected to stay open until June 2024.
So far this year, 12 racehorses have died at Golden Gate Fields.
The recent series of horse deaths at the track began on Sept. 20, when a 5-year-old mare named Gardees World died, according to the California Horse Racing Board. The cause of death is listed as unknown.
On Sept. 25, a 5-year-old gelding named Great Story was killed, with the cause listed as non-musculoskeletal death during training.
On Sept. 27, a 2-year-old filly named Weeping Willow was killed at the track, with the cause undisclosed.
The most recent death came on Sunday, when a 5-year-old mare named Navy Queen died due to a musculoskeletal training death, according to the state racing board.
When asked to comment about criticism directed at its racetracks, a Stronach Group representative on Monday pointed to measures taken by the California Horse Racing Board, which tracks racing horse fatalities and regulates the sport, that have reduced deaths at tracks by 54 percent over the past three years.
One of those measures has been a requirement that every horse is reviewed by an expert panel to determine its fitness for a race.
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