Princess Lili B Becomes 22nd Horse to Die at Santa Anita Racetrack Since Dec. 26

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 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

Just a few days after the main track at Santa Anita Park was reopened for workouts, the 22nd horse of the season was euthanized after a damaging injury.

"We're devastated," said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of track owner The Stronach Group, per Brad Free of Daily Racing Form.

The track closed for a week following the 21st death since Dec. 26, but it reopened Monday following inspections and dirt sampling, according to Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times. The track was supposed to resume races on March 22. 

"We're perplexed by what has happened and devasted," Rivto added, per Kelly Taylor of Fox 11. "The track, we have complete confidence in the track, with the greatest track crew in America, and it's just a devastating time for all of us."

The course already had to cancel the Santa Anita Handicap and San Felipe Stakes after initially closing the track, but the latest death could lead to more missed events.

Santa Anita has been home to the Breeders' Cup for the past 10 years and is expected to host it again next fall.

As Jonathan Lloyd of NBC Los Angeles noted, these recent tragedies are a major change from past years. Only 10 horses died between December and February last year, while there has not been more than 14 in any of the past three years.

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