Santa Anita suspends racing on Thursdays because of a shortage of horses

In this image provided by Benoit Photo, Roadster, left, with Mike Smith aboard, overpowers Game Winn
Racing at Santa Anita has been curtailed to Friday through Sunday until at least June.
(Benoit Photo)

Santa Anita has canceled racing for at least the next five Thursdays because of a shortage in the horse population in the Southland, according to the Daily Racing Form.

The move was not unexpected as the track has seen a lot of horses go east while the track has been dealing with myriad issues, from a rise in equine deaths to the implementation of new medication policies.

Eight Southern California horses were eligible to run Friday at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Ben Huffman, Keeneland’s racing secretary, estimated that at least 60 horses have relocated from California to Kentucky for the current meeting. How many go on to Churchill Downs in Louisville is unclear.

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There would be three more Thursdays left — June 6, 13 and 20 — before the track is scheduled to end its current meeting on June 23. A decision on those dates will be made later.

While the field sizes for this weekend’s cards is not bad, last Saturday seven of the nine races had only six horses entered, and on Sunday there were five races with only five horses entered.