Another Horse Dies At Santa Anita, Bringing Equine Death Toll To 31 Since December

The famed thoroughbred California racetrack has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for the rash of horse deaths.

Another racehorse has died at Santa Anita Park, the famed thoroughbred racetrack outside Los Angeles that’s come under intense scrutiny in recent months due to a troubling number of horse deaths there. Since December, when the season started, 31 racehorses have died at Santa Anita.

Zeke, a 4-year-old gelding, was euthanized on Monday night after suffering a pelvic fracture on the training track, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We are carefully reviewing what factors could have contributed to Zeke’s injury,” Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinarian for The Stronach Group, which owns the park, said in a statement. “Santa Anita will continue to work closely with the California Horse Racing Board and will continue to be transparent with our stakeholders and all of our constituents, including the public, as more facts come in.”

Benson added the horse will undergo a necropsy, a procedure that’s mandatory for all on-track accidents. The necropsy report will be reviewed by the racing board.

As the LA Times noted, Zeke’s death follows a period of safe racing at Santa Anita. Before Monday’s fatality, officials said there had been 1,034 workouts without incident. 

The track, however, faced harsh criticism earlier this year after more than 20 horses died within just three months.

In March, the park temporarily shuttered to investigate the rash of deaths. When it reopened, a number of changes were announced, including a ban on the use of drugs and whips on race days. A new drainage system was later installed on the main track for safety reasons.

Another string of equine deaths at Santa Anita in June raised fresh questions about what was causing horses to die at the racetrack. Four horses died that month, prompting the track to boot its Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer

State regulators, as well as the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, have launched investigations into the spate of horse deaths. 

But these probes have not halted racing at the track. Santa Anita’s fall racing meet opens Sept. 27.

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