Who Is Behind The Santa Anita Park Shutdown

April 2, 2020

By: Fred Riecke

Most people are under the impression that PETA was the driving force behind the closing of Santa Anita Park.  Surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Even though PETA’s dirty paw prints are all over the extinguishing of horse racing in Arcadia, Kathryn Barger is ultimately the culprit. And this isn’t the first time.

Kathryn Ann Barger is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing the 5th District. Barger previously served as Chief Deputy Supervisor and Chief of Staff to her predecessor Michael D. Antonovich. Barger is a Republican from the wealthy city of San Marino, just a few furlongs from Santa Anita.  It was Barger who ordered the track shut down as “non-essential” during the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Barger hasn’t said much to defend her action. Even though racing continues at Golden Gate Fields and Los Alamitos, they are in different counties and thus not within Barger’s reach.  However, if it was up to her, it appears that all the tracks in California would be closed.   Last April, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger to send a five-signature letter to the California Horse Racing Board supporting further efforts to investigate and advocate for solutions to end the spate of horse fatalities at Santa Anita Park.

Despite the fact that this isn’t Barger’s first rodeo versus Santa Anita, she has taken virtually no heat for her recent decision or her prior action.  Santa Anita’s responses to the shut down have been coiffed in extremely polite fashion.  This is besides the fact that there are few reasons to prevent the horses from running.

As of now, there have been no cases of the Covid-19 at Santa Anita.  There are approximately 1,000 people in the backstretch working, with many also living at the track. There are 1,700 horses at Santa Anita. Severe measures have been taken to curb the virus and still maintain proper care of the horses.

A release from Santa Anita stated that “At Santa Anita Park the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community remains our top priority.  We are continuing to  have constructive dialogue with the LA County Health Department and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and her staff.  In cooperation with our industry stakeholders, a proposal was submitted earlier this week which we believe was fully responsive to their requests.”  There has been no response.

In the meantime, the revenue normally generated by racing which helps the citizens in these difficult times goes uncollected.  As each day succumbs, jobs are threatened.  The trainers and their staffs have done a remarkable job keeping the horses in training and race ready.  But is this sustainable?  How many owners will bail out saying this is the final straw?  And how long will it take Barger to reply?

Should you wish to contact Mrs. Barger, you can reach her at kathrynbarger.lacounty.gov

@jonathanstettin Great article!

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  1. rbpaint4u2@msn.com Apr 2, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    she has not returned any emails or calls from me or anyone I know …….

    1. rbpaint4u2@msn.com Apr 7, 2020 at 5:59 pm

      she did get back to me placing the blame on the health department who controls that department the supervisor we must vote her out And the stonachs need to step up and speak out ….its down in the mud politics if you pay they will let you play .Holding hostage the thousands of jobs taxes to arcadia and lives of the horses is who needs to win here ….

  2. gillyzmama@aol.com Apr 2, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    While Ms Barger ultimately gave the order to close, Horseracing Wrongs, PETA, Ban Horseracing and several other extremist groups did make numerous calls and complaints about the “safety” of the backside workers. However, there are no known cases of COVID 19 at Santa Anita on the backside, and because the track closed the doors to the public before any mandates came down, put in more handwashing stations, has increased frequency of cleaning of the bathrooms and has kept the backside workers, who live on the property, safe by keeping it closed to only essential personnel, they are safer on the backside than they would be in the general public. The different animal extremist group members are bragging about shutting down Santa Anita, and have now closed down Golden Gate Fields, Cal Expo and are going after Los Alamitos. So, the enemy is clear- a bunch of vegans who want to force their agenda and way of life on mainstream people.

  3. WaltRadio2003@aol.com Apr 5, 2020 at 7:33 am

    The fact is, while groups some have mentioned did complain and would likely not escalate it further than what they did and EVEN IF there is a 0.00001% chance of anyone doing anything, Mrs. Barger and other heads of the Health Departments who shut down racing (Golden Gate and Cal-Expo since were shut down) STILL had no choice but to cave in to the groups demanding such, given CONVICTED FELONS are being released from PRISONS due to the virus. There are too many lunatics out there as has been shown by all the mass shootings in the past decade (one thing the virus has seemed to stop dead in its tracks) and there is the risk one such who would think they are a “hero” to the groups who have wanted it stopped if they had refused to shut down racing would actually follow through and commit heinous/violent acts in retaliation for NOT ordering the tracks shut down. That risk, however small had to be assumed like it would actually happen due to what has happened over the past decade and the groups who wanted it shut down have been emboldened to abuse their power because of that fear. There was the risk, again no matter how small it actually was of it actually happening, there are too many people who likely are thinking they would not be risking jail time because of prisoners being released of committing violence against such departments and/or others and THAT to me was the real problem, a by-product of prisoners being released.

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