ARCADIA (CBSLA) – Santa Anita Park saw its sixth horse racing death of the season this weekend, marking the 43rd such death since December of 2018.
A 6-year-old gelding named Double Touch suffered what officials described as a sudden death on the training track Saturday, the sixth death since the racing season began Dec. 28.
The cause of Double Touch’s death Saturday is unknown. Necropsy results are pending.
The death was the first at Santa Anita since Jan. 19 when the 4-year- old gelding Tikkun Olam was euthanized after a collision on the training track.
Double Touch raced 22 times, winning four races. He finished fourth in his final race, Jan. 26.
Racing at Santa Anita was temporarily suspended in February of 2019 – following the 19th horse death — and again that March – following the 21st horse death — so experts could conduct testing on the park’s three tracks – the main, training and turf tracks — to try and pinpoint the issue.
Last April, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced the creation of a task force to investigate the deaths.
In June, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill giving the California Horse Racing Board the authority to halt racing at Santa Anita if it so chooses.
Santa Anita was mired in controversy again in September when the New York Times published a report alleging that 2018 Triple-Crown winner Justify had failed a drug test after the Santa Anita Derby, and the CHRB kept the test result secret. Prominent trainer Bob Baffert vehemently denied that Justify was intentionally given performance-enhancing drugs, instead saying that that the Scopolamine found in Justify’s system after the horse won the Santa Anita Derby in April of 2018 was due to Jimson Weed in his feed.
In November, the CHRB submitted a series of proposed regulations designed to eliminate medications from the sport, mitigate injuries and increase transparency.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)