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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