Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter worries at Santa Anita: 7 Deaths in 4 Weeks

NBC Sports / MSNBC

Seven horses euthanized after racing or training incidents since Dec. 26

Jan. 24, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. - Seven horses have been euthanized after racing or training incidents since Santa Anita’s winter meeting opened Dec. 26 on the synthetic track.

The most recent injury occurred Saturday, when Spenditallbaby hurt her right front ankle at the seven-eighths pole in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff.

She was taken off the track by van and was to be examined by a veterinarian. Last weekend, two horses were euthanized.

“The hard freeze and rain really wreaked havoc,” track spokesman Mike Willman said Saturday. “They were problems none of us anticipated.”

Most of the fatalities occurred during the first week of the meeting, Willman said, when the changing weather conditions caused the track’s synthetic surface to separate.

“The first week aside, things have been good,” he said.

One of the deaths last weekend involved a horse that was on the veterinarians list, which includes horses that have been deemed unfit to race and must prove physical soundness before being allowed to return.

The other euthanized horse was on the steward’s list, which includes horses ineligible to start because of poor or inconsistent performances.

Santa Anita has had problems with its synthetic surface since it was introduced two years ago after the California Horse Racing Board mandated a change from dirt at the state’s major track.


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