A 5-year-old gelding named Chosen Vessel has become the ninth horse to die since the racing season at Santa Anita Park began Dec. 26, according to officials at the race track in Arcadia.
The horse suffered a fracture of the left front ankle Saturday during the ninth race and was taken to the Equine Hospital where, “after diagnostics and X-rays were performed, it was determined to be an unrecoverable injury” and the horse was euthanized, according to the track website.
Chosen Vessel was being ridden by jockey Edwin Maldonado and suffered the injury as he approached the far turn. He was the first fatality for trainer Craig Dollase since the rise in horse deaths at Santa Anita was first noted in December 2018.
The horse’s last start was in the San Marcos Stakes on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
At least 45 horses have died at the facility since December 2018.
But officials with the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita, told the Los Angeles Times that 19 horses had died there as of this time last year. They credit improved safety measures for the decline.
Still, animal-rights activists have continued to push for an end to horse racing in California.
“So you see, last year was no anomaly, not here, not anywhere,” organizers with the group Horseracing Wrongs noted on their website. “Horseracing kills horses.”