Horse Collapses, Dies After Race at Los Alamitos

Horse Racing detail, hooves on all weather track

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CYPRESS (CNS) - Another racehorse has died at Los Alamitos Race Course, the track's 18th horse fatality of the year.

Javelina Cantina, a 5-year-old mare with 27 races and one first-place finish in her career, suffered a "sudden death" after finishing fifth in a six-horse field in Saturday's 10th race, the California Horse Racing Board reported Monday.

The horse "was walking back to the barn after the race, collapsed and died just before exiting the race track," Mike Marten, public information officer with the CHRB, told City News Service on Tuesday.

Sudden death is defined as an acute collapse and death in a closely observed and previously apparently healthy horse. Javelina Cantina will undergo a postmortem examination under the direction of UC Davis.

"We should note that the complete, exhaustive postmortem examinations and in-depth toxicology studies have found no evidence to suggest that medications are the cause of the sudden deaths here in California," Marten added.

Javelina Cantina was owned by Steve Burns and trained by Michael Casselman. Her jockey was Adrian Loza.

So far in 2022, eight horses at the Cypress track have died from racing-related injuries, three from training injuries and another seven from other causes.

Earlier this year, Los Alamitos took a series of steps aimed at improving safety following a spate of four horse deaths in an 11-day span.

According to the CHRB, Los Alamitos has eliminated the use of "high toe grabs" -- similar to cleats worn by football players to give them better traction on turf -- on rear horseshoes. The track also eliminated the "breaking bar" in quarter-horse races. The bar is similar to a starting block in track meets, adding traction at the start of a race.

The track also consulted with a racing surface expert to determine if the track surface is a contributing factor to the injuries, and it contacted UC Davis to "fund a study of lumbar fractures in quarter-horses," CHRB officials said.

Eleven horses died from racing or training injuries at Los Alamitos in 2021, with another two deaths listed as "other." The track was briefly placed on probation by the CHRB in July 2020 due to a spate of racehorse deaths. At that time, at least 20 horses had died at the track in 2020 after suffering racing or training injuries.

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