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Training accident leads to 12th horse death at Santa Anita since Dec. 26

Jockeys and their horses race at Santa Anita race track.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

An accident during morning training Friday is the suspected cause of the death of a 12th horse at Santa Anita since the racing season was scheduled to begin Dec. 26.

Last Renegade, an unraced 2-year-old colt, was out for morning training when he unseated his rider. The horse was running loose and his saddle slipped backward and he bucked, causing him to get tangled up in his reins, according to the track.

During that time, he made contact with the inside safety rail. The colt was caught by an outrider and transported back to a barn. While he was being examined by a veterinarian, he died of an unknown injury. As is standard, a necropsy will be performed.

Even though the track is closed for racing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Anita is open for training and workouts in the morning. Since March 22, the last day of racing at the track, there have been 3,258 timed workouts and tens of thousands of training sessions, where horses go on the track and gallop or jog.

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M C Hamster became the 11th horse to die at Santa Anita since the racing year began Dec. 26 after breaking down after a workout on the main dirt track.

Last Renegade, trained by Peter Eurton, was the third horse to die since the closure. One of the deaths was believed to be a cardiac event and the other a catastrophic breakdown. Of the 12 deaths this racing season, nine were believed to be breakdowns, two were associated with a heart issue and then came Friday’s accident.

Last year, at this point, Santa Anita had 23 deaths. The horse population is thought to be around 1,700, down from last year.

Because of Santa Anita’s closing, some owners and trainers have shipped horses out of state to run. Racing, without crowds, is going on in Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

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The only racing in California is at Los Alamitos, in Orange County. The track is primarily used for quarter horses at night, although the track is conducting sprint races up to 1,000 yards with quarter horses and thoroughbreds running against each other. A few lower-level thoroughbreds that would normally be running at Santa Anita are racing at Los Alamitos.

Santa Anita is working with the Los Angeles County Public Health Department to reopen for live racing.


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