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25th Horse Death At Santa Anita; PETA Calls For Suspension Of Racing "Bloodbath"

Screenshot from KTLA 5 Los Angeles

ARCADIA (CNS) - A horse injured during a Sunday race at Santa Anita Park was euthanized, becoming the 25th horse fatality at the track since December and the second in the past four days, authorities confirmed Monday.
   Spectacular Music, a 3-year-old gelding, sustained a pelvic injury while running his first career race.
   ``The horse did not fall, but was pulled up at about the half-mile pole at the discretion of jockey Jorge Velez and vanned to receive a comprehensive evaluation by on-site world-class veterinarians,'' according to a statement from The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita. ``The jockey was not
injured. Equine pelvic injuries are rare, and further evaluation is being conducted by the California Horse Racing Board, per protocol, to understand what could have caused this uncommon injury.''
   On Friday, an unraced 3-year-old gelding named Commander Coil suffered a fatal shoulder injury while galloping during training. His death, the 24th at the track since Dec. 26, was the first since March 31.
   ``Equine shoulder injuries are rare, especially for a horse that is galloping as opposed to breezing or racing,'' according to a statement issued Friday by The Stronach Group. ``... The Stronach Group remains committed to operating Santa Anita Park with stringent protocols that prioritize the health
and safety of horses and riders first and foremost.''

The animal welfare group PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - issued a statement saying, "Santa Anita's new rules have slowed the bloodbath,  and now the track is banning trainers whose actions lead to horses' deaths - including the trainer for Commander Coil, who died on Friday...Santa Anita should suspend racing until stronger measures are enacted."

Santa Anita was closed to racing for most of March while authorities
studied the racing surface for possible causes contributing to the deaths of 23
horses since the current meet began Dec. 26.
   Some observers have speculated that last winter's unusual level of
rain played a role in the fatalities. Santa Anita's owners brought in national
experts to conduct days of testing on the track's soil, but no problems were
   Races resumed after the state horse racing board approved a series of
safety measures, including limits on certain types of medications administered
to horses.
   In early April, Santa Anita officials announced a series of new
measures to help bolster the safety of horses at the track including
restrictions on certain medications, requiring trainers to get permission in
advance before putting a horse through a workout and investing in diagnostic
equipment to aid in the early detection of pre-existing conditions.
   Stronach Group officials noted that between April 1 and last week,
there were 698 horses starting on the main track and 651 on the turf course
without fatalities.
   ``The Stronach Group is committed to advocating for the health and
safety of horses and riders and will continue to work with stakeholders in
California and nationally to drive further progress,'' according to the

Ken Vincent has retired. We appreciate the way he shared his expertise with many of our young interns and reporters over the nearly eight years he spent as KVCR's lead journalist and Morning Edition host. We wish him a happy and relaxing retirement as he spends more time in his garden and, as he mentioned, more time on the golf course. Thanks Ken!
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