Another racehorse died at Santa Anita Park Sunday, the 23rd horse death at the facility since Dec. 26.
Arms Runner, a 5-year-old colt who won his last race at the park on Jan. 27, suffered a severe and ultimately fatal injury to his right front leg in Sunday’s Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes on turf, resulting in a two-horse spill.
The trailing horse, La Sardane, fell but was quickly on her feet, the Daily Racing Forum reported. The spill occurred just as the horses were about to re-enter the turf portion of the course that starts at the top of a hillside and has a crossover point on dirt.
Arms Runner was trained by Peter Miller and owned by Rockingham Ranch. He had made $124,941 in 12 starts before Sunday.
Santa Anita officials said they would issue a comment shortly.
Racing had just resumed Friday at the famed Arcadia track, one day after the California Horse Racing Board approved restrictions on certain medications administered to the animals. The track was closed for most of this month while officials inspected the track and formulated the new regulations.
The CHRB approved previously announced proposals to strictly limit the use of anti-inflammatory medications on horses. It also approved a much-discussed 50 percent reduction in the allowable amount of Lasix, a diuretic that helps prevent horses from hemorrhaging. Santa Anita officials had initially proposed a ban on Lasix, but struck a compromise with the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Thoroughbred Trainers calling for a 50 percent reduction in allowable dosage.
Santa Anita officials previously announced a series of other measures being implemented to help bolster safety of the horses, including:
— Complete transparency of all veterinary records;
— Trainers must apply for permission to work a horse (a timed, high-speed training exercise) at least 48 hours in advance;
— No therapeutic medications of treatments will be allowed without a qualified veterinary diagnosis from a state licensed veterinarian;
— Significant and strict out-of-competition testing;
— Increasing the time required for horses to be on-site prior to a race; and
— A substantial investment by The Stronach Group in diagnostic equipment to aid in the early detection of pre-existing conditions.
Those measures, however, did not prevent animal-advocacy groups from protesting the resumption of racing at Santa Anita, who point to the dangers they say are inherent in the sport.
Between December and February of the previous year, 10 horses died at Santa Anita, compared with eight in 2016-17 and 14 in 2015-16. The track averaged about 50 deaths per year from 2008-18, according to data from the CHRB.
The unusually large amount of rain that has fallen over the Southland this winter has been mentioned as a possible factor in explaining the surge in deaths.
Former track superintendent Dennis Moore and Mick Peterson of Racing Services Testing Lab were brought in to conduct a thorough analysis of the main track, and officials repeatedly said they found no problems.
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