ARCADIA (CBSLA) — A 4-year-old filly died from a training injury suffered at Santa Anita Park on the last day of the fall racing season, the California Horse Racing Board announced Tuesday.
Star of Africa was the fourth horse to die from a racing or training injury at Santa Anita Park during the fall season, which began Oct. 1.
She died Sunday, according to CHRB.
Star of Africa had 16 starts and three first-place finishes in her career. She was owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trained by Patrick Gallagher. The jockey as of her last start was Abel Cedillo.
In the calendar year 2021, 19 racehorses at Santa Anita have died from racing or training injuries or other causes. The track reported 20 such deaths in 2020.
Those numbers represent an improvement over previous years. The park endured a storm of controversy 2018-19, as 37 horses died in racing or training incidents during one racing season, prompting some animal rights activists to renew their calls for a ban on the sport.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office investigated the deaths, and concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing, but made a series of recommendations aimed at improving safety at California race tracks.
An extensive investigation by CHRB, released in March of 2020, found no evidence of illegal medications or procedures, but determined most of the horses had “pre-existing pathology.”
Officials with the CHRB and Santa Anita owner The Stronach Group enacted a series of new rules after those deaths, and Santa Anita officials say they have one of the best safety records in the industry.
In June of 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill giving the CHRB the authority to halt racing at Santa Anita if it so chooses.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)