ARCADIA (CNS) - A horse collapsed during a race Monday and died at Santa Anita Park, state officials confirmed to City News Service.
Big Talker, a 5-year-old gelding, "collapsed while competing in the sixth race at Santa Anita on Monday. This is considered a sudden death -- to be confirmed by postmortem examination," Mike Marten, public information officer for the California Horse Racing Board, told CNS.
Big Talker had 18 races and three first-place finishes in his career. All his races were at Southern California tracks. His most recent victory was in a claiming race at Los Alamitos Race Course on Dec. 16, 2022, according to the industry website Equibase.
It's been a tough year at the Arcadia track. Counting Big Talker, seven horses have died from racing or training injuries at Santa Anita in 2023.
Twelve racehorses died at Santa Anita in all of 2022, according to the CHRB.
Santa Anita officials have said they've made major improvements in horse safety after 2019, when 42 horses died at the track, sparking widespread debate about safety issues at Santa Anita and about horse-racing in general. The uproar led to procedural and veterinary oversight changes at the park.
After the completion of Santa Anita's winter-spring season last June, track officials hailed what they called major improvements in horse safety, and called the facility the safest track in North America compared to those with similar racing and training activity.