Racetrack Deaths at Santa Anita Were . . . Not Bad Last Year

This has nothing to do with anything at the moment, but I happened to run across the data for horse racing deaths in California this morning. Here are the numbers for Santa Anita racetrack:

Over the past few months I must have read at least a dozen stories about the enormous death toll at Santa Anita this season and the desperate search to figure out what was happening. Not once did I see this chart or anything like it. As near as I can tell, what was happening was: nothing. There were a total of 30 racing and training deaths, which was down from 37 the year before, which was down from 54 the year before that, which was down from 57 the year before that. Fatalities have also been declining relative to the number of starts, as the chart above shows.

So why was there suddenly such a huge fuss this year? And why did virtually no reporting about it include context like this?

More here, including this longer-term chart:

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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