Racing Suspended at Santa Anita Following 21 Horse Deaths in 3 Months

Racing Suspended at Santa Anita Following 21 Horse Deaths in 3 Months article feature image

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Santa Anita Park

  • After a 21st horse death in less than three months, Santa Anita Park has indefinitely suspended horse racing and training on its track.
  • The track had been closed just last week for a soil inspection, but even since then two horses have suffered fatal injuries.

Santa Anita Park — host of four Breeders’ Cups this decade — has shut down horse racing indefinitely, as an alarmingly high number of horse deaths in recent months has raised concerns about the track’s safety.

On Tuesday, 4-year-old filly, Lets Light the Way, was euthanized after suffering an ankle injury during training. She was the 21st horse to be put to death as a result of an injury at the track since the end of December.

“The safety, health and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top priority,” said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the group that owns Santa Anita. “While we are confident further testing will confirm the soundness of the track, the decision to close is the right thing to do at this time.”

This isn’t the first time that the tracked has closed this year. Just a week ago, in fact, Santa Anita closed for two days for a soil inspection after Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner — and 2017 Kentucky Derby third-place finisher — Battle of Midway was euthanized after suffering workout injury.

The track re-opened on Thursday, only to lose another horse, Eskenforadrink, in Saturday’s races. The 4-year-old filly was an even-money favorite to win her race.

Tuesday’s death of Lets Light the Way makes three in the past week and a half, and this time, the track’s closure has no timetable for a reopening. Santa Anita is scheduled to host another Breeders’ Cup this November.

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