Bob Baffert joins protest calling for return of racing at Santa Anita

Bob Baffert: hall of fame trainer called for reopening of Santa Anita. Photo: Benoit Photo

By Jon Lees

USA: Bob Baffert joined a protest in Los Angeles on Tuesday calling for the resumption of horse racing at his home Santa Anita racetrack.

The hall of fame trainer wore a face mask and gloves at ‘a call to action’ staged outside a meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. 

Racing at the venue had been operating behind closed doors until it was brought to a halt on March 27, when it was deemed a non-essential business by LA County’s Department of Public Health in response to the coronavirus crisis.

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Baffert was among some 50 protesters, who also included fellow Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill, at the rally organised by Oscar De La Torre, an advocate for the Santa Anita’s 750 backstretch workers.

Carrying a ‘We support horse racing’ sign, Baffert, quoted by Horse Racing Nation, addressed the crowd saying, “There’s a lot of families out there suffering right now and I think it’s unnecessary that more people aren’t able to work, especially at Santa Anita where it’s been safe.

“We’ve been COVID free. We’re doing everything possible and haven’t had any problems. I know the supervisors have a lot on their plate, but hopefully this will bring a little attention to them that we need to start racing.”

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