The coronavirus-interrupted and rain-delayed 83rd Winter Meet at Santa Anita Park concluded Sunday with a 12-race card, which like all racing dates at the Arcadia track since March 12 was held without fans present.
The track was closed to the public and all but essential personnel on March 12, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but racing continued. Racing was halted March 27 in accordance with orders from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Racing resumed May 15. Protocols instituted include mandatory face masks and daily health screening including temperature checks and mandatory “social distancing” while on the property, increased sanitation procedures, the creation of a “restricted zone” housing jockeys, valets and other essential personnel who must have a negative COVID-19 test to access, and pre-race protocol to increase physical distancing.
The meet’s traditional Dec. 26 start was pushed back two days due to concerns about the rainy weather.
Sixteen horses died in racing or training-related incidents, including Strictly Biz on Saturday. The 4-year-old colt fractured a right knee on the gallop out after finishing sixth in the field of eight in the sixth race and was transported to the Equine Hospital.
After diagnostics and x-rays were performed, it was determined to be an unrecoverable injury and, per recommendation from the attending veterinarian, was humanely euthanized, according to Santa Anita.
The start was the fourth of Strictly Biz’s career. He won his debut on Sept. 7, 2018, at Los Alamitos Race Course, finished fourth in his lone start in 2019 and eighth May 15. Each of his final three races was at Santa Anita.
Racing will return to Santa Anita on Sept. 11 following the Summer Thoroughbred Festival at Los Alamitos Race Course June 26 through July 5 and the 81st summer season at Del Mar July 10 through Sept. 7.
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