Another horse has died in a racing accident at Los Alamitos, state horse racing officials have confirmed.
Smokin Hot Fire was a 2-year-old gelding with five career races and collapsed after crossing the finish line in fourth place at the end of Saturday night’s seventh race. His cause of death was listed under “musculoskeletal” by the California Horse Racing Board, but no further information was immediately available.
Smokin Hot Fire was owned by Rojas Racing LLC and trained by Ricardo Guillen. His jockey was Cesar Franco.
He is the ninth racehorse to die in a racing or training accident at the Cypress track this year — three from training injuries and six from racing injuries.
Earlier this year, Los Alamitos took a series of steps aimed at improving safety following a spate of four horse deaths in an 11-day span.
According to the CHRB, Los Alamitos has eliminated the use of “high toe grabs” — similar to cleats worn by football players to give them better traction on turf — on rear horseshoes. The track also eliminated the “breaking bar” in quarter-horse races. The bar is similar to a starting block in track meets, adding traction at the start of a race.
The track also consulted with a racing surface expert to determine if the track surface is a contributing factor to the injuries, and it contacted UC Davis to “fund a study of lumbar fractures in quarter-horses,” CHRB officials said.
Eleven horses died from a racing or training injuries at Los Alamitos in 2021, and the track was briefly placed on probation by the CHRB in July 2020 due to another spate of racehorse deaths. At that time, at least 20 horses had died at the track in 2020 after suffering racing or training injuries.