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Santa Anita suffers its 15th horse death of the season

Horses run in the second race at Santa Anita Park to empty stands on March 14, 2020, in Arcadia.
The horse death Saturday at Santa Anita was the 15th of the meeting, which concludes Sunday. Pictured is a race from March 14.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Strictly Biz, a lightly raced 4-year-old colt, became the 15th horse to die this season at Santa Anita when a fracture of his right knee occurred during the gallop out after the horse finished sixth in a 5½-furlong turf allowance/optional claiming race Saturday. Veterinarians believed the injury was not reparable, and the horse was euthanized.

The colt was pulled up at the top of the stretch at the conclusion of the race and was taken in a van off the course.

Strictly Biz was running in his fifth race after winning his first race and then finishing off the board in his next four, all at the allowance level. He was trained by Brian Koriner and ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr.

Tiz The Law, the race’s only Grade 1 winner, easily prevails as the Belmont Stakes kicks off the Triple Crown in a coronavirus-altered 2020 calendar.

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It was the fifth racing death since the season started Dec. 26. There have been 10 training deaths, no doubt the difference because the track was closed to racing for almost two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Training continued during that time.

The colt was a $100,000 purchase by Jay Em Ess Stables as a 2-year-old at the Ocala, Fla., sale in April, 2018.

Last year, the track had 30 deaths during its winter-spring meeting, twice the number of this year. The Stronach Group instituted heightened safety protocols after last year’s meeting, but the disruption in racing makes it difficult to assess the success of the measures.

This year’s meeting concludes Sunday.


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