Feinstein joins call for Santa Anita to suspend racing
ARCADIA — U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has joined the California Horse Racing Board in calling for Santa Anita to immediately suspend the remainder of its meet after the deaths of two more horses last weekend.
A total of 29 horses have now died since the track opened for the season in December. The current meet is scheduled to end June 23.
The California Democrat said Monday that “something is seriously wrong,” whether it’s the track surface or problems involving training or medication. She said no one seems to know, yet training and racing continues.
“How many more horses need to die before they act?” she asked, referring to management at the Arcadia racetrack.
Santa Anita has enacted a series of reforms aimed at improving safety but despite its efforts the deaths have continued except during one six-week stretch in which no horses died.
“After extensive consultation among all partners, Santa Anita Park will stay open through the end of its meet to see these reforms through,” said a statement attributed to track owner The Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers.
The groups say since reforms have been enacted, catastrophic injuries at the track have decreased by 50% in racing and by over 84% in training.
“To be clear, there are no acceptable losses and every day we work toward ending all serious injuries,” the groups said. “But the reality is that our improvements and changes have been effective.”
The groups say a detailed and serious epidemiological investigation of all track accidents is underway.
The state racing board has recommended that the track suspend the rest of the meet. However, Santa Anita management has chosen to continue racing.
The CHRB doesn’t have the authority to suspend a race meet or remove race dates from a current meet without the approval of the track operator or without holding a public meeting that requires 10 days’ notice.
The racing board recommended that Santa Anita suspend racing but allow horses to continue training, believing it would provide the industry extra time to fully implement announced safety initiatives.
The California State Senate has passed Senate Bill 469 that would authorize the racing board to suspend a track’s license in order to protect the health and safety of horses and riders. Feinstein urged the state Assembly to pass the bill as soon as possible.
Tony Parker announces retirement
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Four-time NBA champion Tony Parker’s impressive career is over.
Parker announced Monday he’s retiring from basketball after 18 seasons in the NBA. The 37-year-old guard said on Twitter it was an emotional decision.
“It’s with a lot of emotion that I retire from basketball, it was an incredible journey!” Parker tweeted. “Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would live all those unbelievable moments with the NBA and the French National Team. Thank you for everything!”
Parker played 17 seasons for the San Antonio Spurs and made the postseason every year of his career before joining the Charlotte Hornets last season and missing the playoffs. He was selected to the All-Star team six times and was named second-team All-NBA three times.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’s loved Parker for a long time and praised him for an “amazing career.”
“It has been a blessing to be with him since he was 19 years old,” Popovich said on a USA Basketball conference call Monday. “I have watched him develop as a player and human being and as a business man.”
Parker started 1,151 regular-season games and averaged 15.5 points and 5.6 assists per game. He also played in 226 playoffs games, averaging 17.9 points and 5.1 assists.
He won NBA titles with the Spurs in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. He was named NBA Finals MVP in 2007.
Parker had one year left on his contract with the Hornets but was not a major part of Charlotte’s rotation late last season. He hinted after the season that he might be done playing, so the retirement announcement did not come as a surprise.
Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak congratulated Parker on a “remarkable career.”
“His impact on the game of basketball and the path he laid out for international stars have no equal,” Kupchak said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the year he spent with us here in Charlotte and we wish him the best as he moves on to the next chapter of his life.”
Hornets coach James Borrego said Parker is a Hall of Famer.
“I have never known the NBA without Tony as a part of it and I’ll truly miss him,” Borrego said. “Tony’s leadership, his presence and his dedication to winning made an impact on shaping me and I’ll always be appreciative of him. I know our organization in Charlotte is grateful for what he brought to us in our year together. I wish him nothing but the best as he moves on to retirement.”
A member of the French National team, Parker was the FIBA Europe Player of the year in 2013 and 2014 and the league’s top scorer in 2011 and 2013.