Kochees Euthanized After Race; 26th Horse Death at Santa Anita Since December

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2019

Animal-rights advocates protest the deaths of 23 racehorses in the first three months of this year at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia,, California, on April 6, 2019. - Santa Anita Park averaged more than 55 horse deaths per year from 2008-18, according to data from the California Horse Racing Board, a total of 553 deaths in all, but this year's major rise in deaths is under investigation. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
MARK RALSTON/Getty Images

The horse Kochees was euthanised Sunday a day after pulling up in a race at Santa Anita Park. There have now been three equine deaths at the track in nine days.

According to the Los Angeles Times (h/t the Associated Press via ESPN), the horse was taking part in a five-and-a-half-furlong race when it had to stop.

"Kochees was taken off the course with a splint," said the report. "The newspaper said that during surgery Sunday, it was determined the 9-year-old horse had lost blood flow to the leg, and the decision was made to euthanise."

CBS Los Angeles shared a photo of Kochees:

The other two horses that died in the nine-day period are Spectacular Music and Commander Coil.

Per Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles, there have now been 26 horse deaths at Santa Anita since December 26, 2018. Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated provided more details:

As relayed in the report, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a statement calling for a suspension of racing at the venue.

"Santa Anita and all California tracks must suspend racing until the ongoing investigation by the district attorney is complete and the new rules have been strengthened," a section of it read. "Decreasing the number of broken bones is not enough."

Per Ahmed, Santa Anita was shut down in March so an investigation into the track conditions could be carried out, although no issue was found with the circuit. Action started again in April after new safety measures were put in place.

The Breeders' Cup is still scheduled to take place at Santa Anita in November. The two-day event is one of the most significant on the horse racing calendar in the United States.

There is racing at the venue on Monday, May 27, including the Grade 1 Gold Cup, Shoemaker Mile and Gamely Stakes.

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