Another Horse Death Brings Santa Anita Race Track Toll to 21

Another Horse Death Brings Santa Anita Race Track Toll to 21

News Staff

A 4-year-old horse was injured during training at Santa Anita Park and subsequently euthanized Tuesday, the 21st horse to die at the track since Dec. 26.

Lets Light the Way, a filly trained by Ron McAnally, was injured during a workout around 7:45 a.m. McAnally told Daily Racing Form the filly suffered a “shattered sesamoid,” a bone in the knee or foot, and the horse was euthanized a short time later.

“To me, it’s the weather that is causing these breakdowns,” McAnally told DRF. “This is the first one I’ve had (this winter).”

Lets Light the Way earned $18,500 in four starts, including one win at Santa Anita last April.

Santa Anita was closed for two days last week so experts could study the main track to identify possible contributing factors to the spate of horse deaths. On Wednesday, Santa Anita officials said analysts conducting tests of the racing surface had declared it ready for reopening. Mick Peterson of the University of Kentucky, who evaluates the track’s soil on a monthly basis, said the track was “100 percent ready” for racing to resume.

“The ground-penetrating radar verified all of the materials, silt, clay and sand, as well as moisture content, are consistent everywhere on this track,” Peterson said last week. “This testing ensures all components, the 5-inch cushion, pad and base are consistent and in good order.”

Racing at the track resumed last Thursday, but another horse, Eskenforadrink, also a 4-year-old filly, was injured during a race Saturday and had to be put down.

Races resumed Sunday, but track officials then announced that racing would go on hiatus until Friday “due to anticipated heavy rain” this week.

However, the track remained open for training.

Santa Anita officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s horse death.

Some animal-advocacy groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have called for a halt to racing at the track and for investigations into the trainers and veterinary records of the horses that have died.