Bramlage, McIlwraith on Santa Anita: A Combination of Factors to Blame

Renowned veterinarians talk catastrophic injury prevention, uniform medication policies, and more in a Translational Medicine Institute video.
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Bramlage, McIlwraith on Santa Anita: A Combination of Factors to Blame
Two world-renowned equine orthopedic surgeons offered insight into the catastrophic racehorse breakdowns at Santa Anita during a recent discussion. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

A collection of factors ranging from racing surface to perception of soundness could have contributed to the 30 horse fatalities at California’s Santa Anita Park, say two world-renowned racehorse health experts.

But, they suggest, there are ways the industry can combat such issues—from canceling racing when conditions dictate to more frequent and detailed lameness examinations.

In June 2019 the Colorado State University (CSU) Translational Medicine Institute posted a video featuring a discussion between Larry Bramlage, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, an equine orthopedic surgeon and shareholder at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, and C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, an equine orthopedic surgeon and a University Distinguished Professor and Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair in Orthopaedics at CSU—on its YouTube channel. The two talked about the Santa Anita catastrophic injuries and other industry controversies such as race-day medications and uniform drug rules

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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