Another Horse Dies During Training at Santa Anita

ARCADIA (CNS) - A 4-year-old horse was injured during training at Santa Anita Park and subsequently euthanized today, the 21st horse to die at the track since Dec. 26.

Lets Light the Way, a filly trained by Ron McAnally, was injured during a workout around 7:45 a.m. McAnally told Daily Racing Form the filly suffered a ``shattered sesamoid,'' a bone in the knee or foot, and the horse was euthanized a short time later.

``To me, it's the weather that is causing these breakdowns,'' McAnally told DRF. ``This is the first one I've had (this winter).''

Lets Light the Way earned $18,500 in four starts, including one win at Santa Anita last April.

Responding to the death, the chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, Chuck Winner, asked that the Santa Anita fatalities and ways of addressing them be discussed at the board's next meeting.

``The board has been in contact with Santa Anita on an ongoing basis as they have tried to deal with this situation,'' according to a statement from CHRB. ``The board is now examining other options to prevent additional fatalities. Chairman Winner has asked that the matter be placed on the agenda for the board's March 21 meeting.''

Santa Anita was closed for two days last week so experts could study the main track to identify possible contributing factors to the spate of horse deaths. Last Wednesday, Santa Anita officials said analysts conducting tests of the racing surface had declared it ready for reopening. Mick Peterson of the University of Kentucky, who evaluates the track's soil on a monthly basis, said the track was ``100 percent ready'' for racing to resume.

``The ground-penetrating radar verified all of the materials, silt, clay and sand, as well as moisture content, are consistent everywhere on this track,'' Peterson said last week. ``This testing ensures all components, the 5- inch cushion, pad and base are consistent and in good order.''

Racing at the track resumed last Thursday, but another horse, Eskenforadrink, also a 4-year-old filly, was injured during a race Saturday and had to be put down.

Races were held as scheduled Sunday, but track officials announced Sunday afternoon that it had scrubbed scheduled races for Thursday ``due to anticipated heavy rain'' this week. Racing is expected to resume Friday.

Santa Anita officials did not immediately comment on Tuesday's horse death, however, the track announced it has retained Dennis Moore -- Santa Anita's former track superintendent -- as a consultant. Track officials said Moore, who retired from Santa Anita Dec. 31 and is now track superintendent at Del Mar and Los Alamitos, ``will be on-site this afternoon as a precautionary measure with regard to the condition of the one-mile main track.''

``An avid horseman and animal lover, human and equine safety are of paramount importance to Moore,'' according to a statement from Santa Anita.

Some animal-advocacy groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have called for a halt to racing at the track and for investigations into the trainers and veterinary records of the horses that have died.

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