Another Fatality At Santa Anita Prior To Evaluation Of Track Surface

by | 02.25.2019 | 3:46pm
Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

According to the Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman, the fourth horse in as many days suffered a catastrophic injury and had to be euthanized at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. A 3-year-old gelding trained by Mark Glatt, Charmer John had made just one start in his young career, finishing sixth on Feb. 14, and broke down shortly after Monday's second renovation break during morning training hours.

Two horses were euthanized after suffering catastrophic injuries during training hours on Saturday, including Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway, and one horse suffered a fatal injury racing on turf Friday. According to published reports, Santa Anita management was going to close the main track for a full evaluation both Monday and Tuesday, but in response to a number of trainers who wanted to work their stakes horses on Monday, opted to allow training but close the track early. The main track will be closed for training on Tuesday.

Privman also reported that Instagrand (1:26.60), Improbable (1:12), Game Winner (1:13.60), Galielean (:47.40), and McKinzie (1:24.20) all returned to their respective barns safely following workouts on Monday morning.

“[The] main track will be closed for training beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday and all day Tuesday in order to fully evaluate sub-surface conditions such as moisture content and soil consistency,” Santa Anita said in a joint statement issued with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB). “If the results of these efforts indicate the track is in prime condition, regularly scheduled training will resume Wednesday morning and live racing will proceed on Thursday.”

The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that through Feb. 10, there have been 16 fatalities at Santa Anita during this racing season — which began Dec. 26 — compared to seven last year, the safest in 25 years.

“Although Santa Anita has experienced 11 ½ inches of rain and near-record cold temperatures this month,” continued the statement from Santa Anita, “dry weather and more moderate temperatures are forecast for the next several days, which will enable (track superintendent Andy) LaRocco's crew to 'peel back' the track's cushion to a depth of approximately five inches, where a thorough examination of the base can be undertaken.

“Mick Peterson, who serves as director of the University of Kentucky's Agricultural Equine programs, and who evaluates soil samples from Santa Anita on a monthly basis, will be on-site in the coming days to review Santa Anita's sub-surface and surface data. Peterson will also be working with a newly formed committee consisting of Hall of Fame retired jockey Alex Solis, … one well-established Southern California trainer, one active jockey and one member of Santa Anita's management team to fully evaluate all data and monitor feedback from horsemen, including trainers, jockeys and exercise riders.

“Santa Anita's main track surface … is tested and evaluated on a daily basis by both Santa Anita and the CHRB.”

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