Oak Tree Racing Association, Santa Anita Park, and the Breeders’ Cup are committed to protecting the health and safety of each equine athlete participating in the 2008 World Championships. Veterinary personnel have developed extensive safety and emergency procedures to ensure a rapid and skilled response to any health issue or injury that may occur.
The chief veterinarian for this year’s event is Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director for the California Horse Racing Board. Dr. Arthur is responsible for the coordination of pre-race examinations, emergency response and pre- and post-race drug testing. An international team of 11 veterinarians will be assisting Dr. Arthur with all facets of equine health and safety. Dr. Tim Connor is the CHRB official veterinarian for the Breeders’ Cup and Dr. Jill Bailey is Oak Tree at Santa Anita’s on-track racing veterinarian for the event.
A Breeders’ Cup veterinary team, consisting of nationally renowned equine practitioners, has been working with CHRB and Oak Tree veterinarians during the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup to evaluate the health and racing soundness of each horse.
On the morning of the scheduled race, each Breeders’ Cup horse will receive an extensive pre-race examination conducted by a CHRB licensed official veterinarian, as required by CHRB regulations of all horses in any race at a California racetrack. This will include observation of the horse in motion as well as manual palpation of the horse’s limbs when indicated.
In addition to the morning examination, horses will be under observation by members of the veterinary team from arrival in the receiving barn until the horses leave the track after the races.
Three onsite equine ambulances will be manned by an emergency team of five veterinarians from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Larry Galuppo will head the UC Davis team. Any horse with a serious injury will be transported to the equine hospital on the Santa Anita backstretch for further evaluation and treatment.
To reduce the impact of heat on the equine athletes, cooling stations are available along the track rail and in the paddock. All ambulances and pursuit vehicles will carry ice, ice water and cooling blankets.