18 March 2016; Ibis Du Rheu, with Jack Sherwood up, on their way to winning the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. Prestbury Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE (Photo by Sportsfile/Corbis via Getty Images)

Following a death toll that reached over twenty during the recent horse racing season at the Del Mar circuit in both training and competitions, the California Racing Board has been forced to investigate such fatalities, with both employees and horses being looked into. Former assembly woman Lori Saldana originally requested such an investigation, with concerns being voiced surrounding the ever rising number of incidents in racing events. For supporters of the sport, the simplicity of viewing the horse racing odds before the weekend’s action and placing a bet on your favourite is all well and good, however the continued fatalities of both horses and jockeys across the globe continues to place a dark cloud over the event. 65-year-old Manny Rotella was thrown from a horse in August, and although recovering fully from his injuries, three-year-old filly ‘Alicanto’ was later euthanized.

Racing Board to Investigate Deaths Within Horse Racing

Across the pond, the Cheltenham Festival is one of the most prestigious events in the UK horse racing calendar, with punters spending millions of pounds on backing their favourites in the hope of winning big from races such as the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. However, the 2016 Festival saw the number of horses killed rise to a ten-year high, with a total of seven dying during the event, with as many as three in one single day. Despite the British Horseracing Authority stating that fatalities have in fact fallen by as much as a third in 30 years, calls are coming from all angles to investigate further such instances.

No More Heroes died during the famous Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle back in March, and although bookmakers Coral have placed Invitation Only as the 12/1 favourite for the race next year, where he shouldn’t have a problem in this field, many are likely to have all but forgotten the tragedies of twelve months prior. Dene Stansall, a horse racing consultant with the group Animal Aid, summed matters up perfectly, stating:

The horses, who are supposedly cherished by the world of racing, are merely disposable commodities, as we have seen this week.

A total of 53 horses have died at the Cheltenham Festival since the year 2000, with a substantial amount also losing their lives elsewhere, increasing the pressure on organisations such as the California Racing Board to look into measures of preventing such occurrences.

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