Santa Anita halts racing after rash of horse deaths

Santa Anita Cancels Racing Indefinitely After 21st Horse Dies at Track

In just two months, 20 horses have died at Santa Anita Park while racing or training. This is the second death since a soil expert pronounced the track "100% ready" to resume racing early last week.

The most recent death was Lets Light the Way, a four-year-old filly who was put down after injuring her front right leg on the track on Tuesday. McAnally told Daily Racing Form the filly suffered a "shattered sesamoid", a bone in the knee or foot, and believes the weather is to blame for these injuries.

That horse's death was preceded by another named Eskenforadrink that was euthanized after an injury to her right foreleg during training just three days prior.

Santa Anita Park was closed for two days a week ago so experts could study the main track to figure out why the horse deaths occurred. Of that number, seven have occurred during a race on the dirt, five have occurred on turf and nine came during training on dirt.

"Santa Anita has been a wonderful track, and they've done all kinds of tests", McAnally said.

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Ritvo was uncertain whether the San Felipe and Santa Anita Handicap would be rescheduled.

Peterson is as perplexed as everyone else - but, like Southern California drivers unaccustomed to driving in wet conditions, Peterson suggests that the trainers and track officials may be unaccustomed to dealing with so much inclement weather.

Possible explanations are the racing surface, though no irregularities were found in testing last week; horses being legally medicated but to the point pain from potential injuries is masked until it's too late; and thoroughbreds potentially being victims of breeding for speed at the expense of durability or long-term health.

The California Horse Racing Board is also investigating the matter. He wouldn't speculate on when racing would resume.

"The move was made so that experts could continue to study the track surface in the hopes of finding out what has caused the sudden dramatic rise in racing deaths since the meeting opened December 26", reports the Los Angeles Times.

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Two more horses died following those evaluations.

What is happening at the Santa Anita racetrack?

A more fitting name, especially as far as the horses forced to race at Santa Anita Park are concerned, would be the sport of killers.

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Peterson said radar verified all of the materials, silt, clay and sand, as well as moisture content, were consistent everywhere on the track.

Cassidy, who now trains 40 horses, says some older animals - some of them 6, 7 and 8 years old - are being raced.

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