Dana Stead, a track veterinarian for the last 14 years in Southern California, is resigning from his position, he told racing officials in an email Dec. 9.
"In the past few years, I have weathered the injury/media/government shutdown of 2019, the COVID shutdown of 2020, been a defendant to three years of frivolous litigation, watched my esteemed colleagues be labeled criminals by the profession we serve, and fought off an attack by anonymous parties that tried to do the same to me. It has all taken a heavy toll," he wrote in the email.
He said the toll of those 14 years and the events therein have "come at much sacrifice to my personal happiness."
In his email, Stead wrote that "with a heavy heart," he is "leaving California." In an interview with Daily Racing Form, Stead said, "I haven't made any final decisions" as to what his next endeavor would be.
A call to Stead Dec. 10 was not returned.
Stead praised the efforts of those involved in the sport in California, saying racing in the state "is in good hands."
He wrote, "The California Horse Racing Board has led the industry in safety with rules that have helped shape national policy. Track management has gone above and beyond to create a team of veterinarians dedicated to protecting our equine and human athletes. Together, I am certain, they will continue to place safety and integrity above all else."