• Another horse dies at Santa Anita, bringing death toll to 26 since December

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk


    ARCADIA, Calif. - A 9-year-old gelding became the third horse to die in nine days at Santa Anita Park when he could not be saved by surgery Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

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    Kochee injured his left front leg Saturday during Saturday’s sixth race at Santa Anita, but surgery revealed blood flow was lost to the leg, the newspaper reported. At that point, the decision was made to euthanize Kochee, making him the 26th horse to die at Santa Anita since late December.

    “Every attempt was made to save him, but he was euthanized earlier today,” track spokesman Mike Willman told KABC.

    Racing was shut down at the race track March 5 after 21 horse deaths due to injuries that had occurred since Dec. 26, the opening day of the racing season, the television station reported.

    Racing resumed March 29, but two days later Arms Runner stumbled on the dirt section of a downhill turf course and was euthanized, The Washington Post reported.

    Santa Anita’s turf course starts at the top of a hill, includes a slight right turn and has an 80-foot crossing on dirt before the track returns to grass, the Times reported in March.

    Kochee, who was running in his 49th race and had 11 career victories, was running in a $10,000 claiming race over 5 ⅓ furlongs, the Times reported.

    It was the third horse death for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, according to the newspaper.

    “Santa Anita and all California tracks must suspend racing until the ongoing investigation by the district attorney is complete and the new rules have been strengthened,” Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement Sunday. “Decreasing the number of broken bones is not enough. … Nothing short of a zero-fatality rate is acceptable.”


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