24th horse dies at Santa Anita Park in California
A fatal shoulder injury has resulted in the death of the 24th racehorse at the famed Santa Anita Park in California.
The three-year-old horse, named Commander Coil, suffered the injury Friday in a gallop while training, according to a statement from Santa Anita Park’s owner, the Stronach Group.
“Equine shoulder injuries are rare, especially for a horse that is galloping as opposed to breezing or racing. A comprehensive evaluation will be completed to understand what might have caused this uncommon injury,” the statement said.
“The Stronach Group remains committed to operating Santa Anita Park with stringent protocols that prioritize the health and safety of horses and riders first and foremost.”
The park implemented reforms on March 15, the group said, and since then there have been over 80,000 gallops in training with no other fatalities.
Friday’s incident marks two dozen horse deaths at the racetrack since December.
The park had closed for racing for three weeks in March after the deaths of the first 22 horses. And two days after racing resumed, an additional one died.
Most people connected with the park believe rain from Southern California’s wettest winter in almost a decade has been a factor in the deaths.
In March, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office assigned investigators to look into the horse deaths.
Kathy Guillermo, PETA senior vice president, has called on Santa Anita to ban drugs for the horses and use a safer, synthetic track. She also called on California Gov. Gavin Newsom to form an independent panel to investigate the training and veterinary practices in California racing.
CNN’s Sarah Moon and Hollie Silvernman contributed to this report.