ARCADIA (CBSLA) — Racing was back underway at Santa Anita Park Thursday, even as two lawmakers call for a suspension after the deaths of 23 horses at the track.
Four consecutive and lucrative days of runs starts Thursday, and one of those races will include the Santa Anita Derby – a Kentucky Derby qualifier.
However, there won’t be any races on the track’s hillside turf course, where a horse named Arms Runner went down and suffered a fatal injury, the 23rd death at Santa Anita Park since late December.
Two-time Triple Crown Winner Bob Baffert will be running one of his most prized horses – Game Winner. Baffert wouldn’t comment on the track’s condition, but Game Winner’s trainer says he believes the track is good.
“Unfortunately we have had some rough times, some bad publicity, but we’re trying to get things worked out,” Baffert said.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Arcadia Rep. Judy Chu are both demanding racing stop until an investigation into the exact cause of deaths for all the horses can be completed. The California Horse Racing Board, which met just last week to discuss new safety rules, has scheduled another meeting about the track for April 12.
Santa Anita Park was closed for most of March after a previous closure in February. The spate of horse deaths have led track officials to test the track multiple times and implement new race-day medication policies.