Santa Anita had its fourth equine death of its five-week fall meeting on Saturday when Major Cabbie broke down on the backstretch of a one-mile claiming race and was euthanized. This fall meeting has been a significant backslide from last year when the Arcadia track had no deaths either racing or training.
Major Cabbie, a 6-year-old, was running his first race for trainer Victor Garcia after being claimed from the barn of Peter Miller. He was running at the same claiming level as his previous race, in which he finished fourth. It appeared the horse was clear of other horses when the injury occurred, resulting in jockey Ricardo Gonzalez being unseated. Gonzalez was not hurt and rode later in the card.
It was the first racing or training death from Garcia’s barn since 2015, according to California Horse Racing Board records.
Major Cabbie had won four of 24 lifetime races, winning $230,251. The horse, sired by Into Mischief, was purchased in 2017 for $260,000. He was winless in eight races this year.
The Stronach Group, owner of Santa Anita and other tracks, has been a leader in trying to upgrade safety standards in the industry after a disastrous 2019 in which 30 horses died racing or training during its half-year winter/spring meet and seven more during its fall meeting. Most notable of those was Mongolian Groom, who suffered a fatal injury while running in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on the penultimate day of the fall meeting. In 2018, there were four deaths in the fall meeting.
California has had a precipitous decline in horse deaths the last two years after both track and CHRB reform measures were instituted. The biggest two days of the year are in two weeks when the Breeders’ Cup is held at Del Mar on Nov. 5-6.