CHRB Issues Update in Sudden Death Inquiry

Board reports no foul play involved as it continues its search for possible causes.

California Horse Racing Board investigators looking into the cause of multiple cases of sudden death in racehorses over the past two years have concluded that no foul play was involved. on April 11 reported the state had seen a spike in cardiac failures, as reported in the CHRB Postmortem Examination Program for fiscal year 2011-2012. The story also reported that four of the 11 cases seen between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, were horses stabled with leading Southern California trainer Bob Baffert, who has had three more sudden deaths occur between August 2012 and March 14.

The board, in an advisory released June 21, said: "The California Horse Racing Board is continuing its ongoing review of sudden deaths in racehorses. Given that one barn at Hollywood Park housed a relatively high number of the sudden deaths that occurred over the last two years, CHRB investigators have taken steps to determine if there was a relationship between the barn and sudden deaths. Interviews were conducted with the personnel at that barn, including the trainer, assistant trainer, and veterinarians. All were very cooperative and provided all relevant information.

"Environmental possibilities as a cause are also being evaluated and tests will be conducted. The pathology and toxicology work has been completed on those horses with no indication of foul play. This aspect of the review is believed to have been as thorough of an examination as has ever been done anywhere in the world with such cases.

"This is all of the information the CHRB is releasing prior to a final report to be issued upon completion of the review."