Racing at Santa Anita Halted After 21 Horse Fatalities

On March 5 officials announced that racing and training would be canceled indefinitely so the main track surface can undergo additional extensive testing and analysis.
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Santa Anita horse fatalities
Santa Anita Park has closed for live racing and training while the 1-mile main track surface undergoes additional extensive testing, officials said. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Since Santa Anita Park’s current meet opened on Dec. 26, 2018, 21 racehorses have died or been euthanized due to injuries sustained during racing and training. On March 5, after the fourth fatality related to training on the main track since Feb. 23, officials announced that racing and training would be canceled indefinitely at the Arcadia, California, venue.

Jeremy Balan of BloodHorse reported March 5 that “of the nine fatalities from training since the meet started, one was classified as a ‘sudden death’ by the CHRB (California Horse Racing Board), meaning it was not related to a musculoskeletal injury. The other eight were from injuries sustained on the main track, and none were associated with injuries on the training track, which sits between the turf course and the infield. Racing fatalities have occurred on both the main track (seven) and on the turf course (five).”

Among the fatalities was 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway. The 5-year-old sustained a hind pastern fracture during training on Feb. 23 and was ultimately euthanized due to the severity of the break

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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