ARCADIA, Calif. (CBSLA) — A horse died Wednesday during a workout at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, marking the 11th horse to die from racing or training since the current racing season started in late December.
M C Hamster, a 4-year-old filly, fractured her left front ankle while training on Santa Anita’s main track and was euthanized.
The death was the first at Santa Anita since April 2 when Smiling Ali, a 2-year-old filly who had never raced, died from what a track official called a “probable cardiac event,” during training on the main track.
A 12th horse, Truest Reward, a 3-year-old gelding, was euthanized after fracturing his left shoulder on the training track the morning of Dec. 26, two days before the winter racing season began.
Since December of 2018, at least 48 horses have died while racing or training at Santa Anita.
Ten horses have died at Los Alamitos Race Course so far this season. Los Alamitos is continuing racing despite being closed to the public.
A state investigation released last month found no evidence that illegal medication or procedures contributed to the deaths of the 23 horses who died at Santa Anita between Dec. 30, 2018, and March 31, 2019.
Last 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.
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.
Santa Anita was mired in controversy again last 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.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)