Santa Anita cancelled indefinitely after horse deaths

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2 weeks 1 day ago #754214 by Bob Brogan
Bob Brogan created the topic: Santa Anita cancelled indefinitely after horse deaths
By Bloodhorse.com

Racing and training at Santa Anita has been cancelled indefinitely to evaluate the safety of its main track following 21 equine fatalities in ten weeks.

California Thoroughbred Trainers president Jim Cassidy said: "There's not going to be racing for the weekend."

Cassidy added that he had already spoken with former Santa Anita track superintendent Dennis Moore, who, after leaving his position in late December, has returned as a consultant.

The announcement of Moore's new role came hours after Lets Light The Way was fatally injured training on the Santa Anita main track on Tuesday morning.

The four-year-old filly was the 21st equine fatality related to racing or training at Santa Anita since its meeting opened on December 26 and the fourth fatality related to training on the main track since February 23.

A press release from the Stronach Group owners of Santa Anita, which has hosted the Breeders' Cup a record nine times – said they had "been in constant communication with the California Horse Racing Board and numerous key industry stakeholders, who are in full agreement with the decision to suspend racing and training".

Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, added: "The safety, health, and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top priority. While we are confident further testing will confirm the soundness of the track, the decision to close is the right thing to do at this time."

The decision to cancel racing came just days before one of the most important cards on Santa Anita's stakes schedule on March 9 that features two Grade 1s – the Santa Anita Handicap and Frank E Kilroe Mile – and a pair of Grade 2s, including the San Felipe Stakes, an important prep for the Kentucky Derby. The races are due to be rescheduled.

Los Alamitos racecourse owner Ed Allred said his track will step in to help with training and stabling if needed. He said 300-350 stalls could be available for the short term, so horses can ship in and train, and arrangements can be made if longer-term solutions are needed.

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