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Horse Deaths Increase as Bay Meadows Era Nears End

May 6, 2007     E-mail this page to a friend!

San Mateo, California (AP)—Twenty-five horses died while racing or practicing at the Bay Meadows track this spring, nine more than incurred fatal injuries over an 11-month period that state regulators studied previously.

The California Horse Racing Board, which is requiring Bay Meadows and the state's four other major thoroughbred racing venues to replace dirt tracks with synthetic surfaces considered safer for horses, compiled the statistics.

Bay Meadows Land Co. announced last month that it would close for good in November after the track failed to win a two-year exemption to the mandate while the site is being readied for commercial and residential development. Upgrading the oval to a cushioned surface would cost about $8 million, Bay Meadows President Jack Liebau said.

According to the racing board, a dozen horses had to be euthanized after they were injured while racing at Bay Meadows between February 14 and April 22. Another six were put down after practicing on the dirt track, while seven more were fatally injured while racing on a turf course.

In comparison, 10 horses were euthanized while racing and six more after practicing at Bay Meadows between December 2005 and November 2006, the board reported.

Adam Alberti, a Bay Meadows spokesman, said that when Bay Meadows closes the track's racing dates would go to other venues that also have not upgraded their ovals.