One day after being notified by The Stronach Group that he was no longer welcome to stable or race at any of the company’s racetracks – Santa Anita and Golden Gate in California, Laurel and Pimlico in Maryland and Gulfstream Park in Florida – Jerry Hollendorfer got the green light from the New York Racing Association to stable and participate at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga.
Hollendorfer, the sport’s third all-time winningest trainer by races won, was told to relocate his 100-plus California-based horses by The Stronach Group on Saturday after American Currency became the fourth horse in his Santa Anita stable to suffer a fatal injury since the winter meeting opened at the Arcadia, Calif., track Dec. 26.
The 73-year-old Hall of Famer is currently in the process of moving his horses from Santa Anita and Golden Gate to Los Alamitos and Pleasanton, respectively, according to drf.com. It is not currently clear whether Hollendorfer will be able to race his 46-horse Southern California stable at the Del Mar meeting.
Santa Anita has been under pressure from California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, and California’s senior U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein, to improve its safety record after a spate of fatal injuries this year. American Currency became the 30th fatality at Santa Anita since Dec. 26 and the track has been the focus of national media reports and animal rights protestors over the last several months.
American Currency sustained a fatal injury to his left front ankle the morning after a critical CNN report that included a segment on Hollendorfer’s three fatalities at Santa Anita and two additional deaths at Golden Gate.
Last month, Hollendorfer opened a division of his stable in New York, overseen by Don Chatlos.
The NYRA statement, from the company’s director of communications, Pat McKenna, reads:
“NYRA’s equine safety program sets the industry standard and has led to demonstrably safer racing operations at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. Since 2013, NYRA has successfully implemented extensive reforms and made significant investments to modernize track surface analysis by upgrading relevant technology, equipment and facilities while providing veterinarians with the independent authority required to properly monitor Thoroughbred health. These efforts and investments stem from an organizational culture that prioritizes the health and welfare of horse and rider above all else. NYRA tracks are safer now than at any point in recent memory.
“The safety protocols in place at NYRA, including veterinary inspection of all horses seeking to compete, extend to all trainers and their assistants and have been effective in improving the safety of racing and training.
“Mr. Hollendorfer is currently utilizing stall space at Belmont Park and was approved for stalls at Saratoga Race Course for the 2019 summer meet. NYRA will honor those agreements and he will be permitted to stable and enter horses at both Belmont and Saratoga.
“Advancing measures to ensure safe racing and training is an ongoing process that requires constant attention and close coordination with horsemen, regulators, owners, racing officials and industry partners. NYRA’s commitment to continuously analyzing and improving safety protocols does not waver.”
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