Santa Anita Racetrack Suspends Races Indefinitely After 21st Horse Dies

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2019

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2014 file, photo, an outrider waits by the track as horses train for the Breeders' Cup horse races at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. A person with direct knowledge of the situation says a 21st horse has died at Santa Anita. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Tuesday, March 5, 2019 because the fatality has not been announced publicly. A total of 21 horses have died since the racetrack's winter meet began on Dec. 26. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Santa Anita racetrack has suspended races indefinitely because of an excessive number of horse deaths at the track, according to ESPN.com.

Since the start of the winter season Dec. 26, 21 horses have died as a result of injuries suffered at the California property.

The most recent death came Tuesday when a four-year-old filly was euthanized following a catastrophic injury suffered during training.

"I think the weather has a lot to do with it," Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally said Tuesday of the latest injury.

"Santa Anita has been a wonderful track, and they've done all kinds of tests," McAnally said. "I don't know what else they could do. It's a fluky thing."

There were only 20 deaths at the racetrack during all of 2017, so the recent rate is certainly concerning.

Track officials have hired Dennis Moore as a consultant to look into the situation.

The famed track was set to host the Santa Anita Handicap and San Felipe Stakes on Saturday, the latter being a potential steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby. Santa Anita has also been home to the Breeders' Cup for the past decade.