Santa Anita sees 28th horse death; track denies request to halt racing

Officials at Santa Anita Park have refused a request by the California Horse Racing Board to suspend racing at the track for the remaining seven days of the season, after a 28th horse died at the facility since Dec. 26.

'Formal Dude' was euthanized Saturday after suffering an injury during that day's 10th race, said Mike Marten spokesman for the CHRB.

"Under current law, The California Horse Racing Board does not have the authority to suspend a race meet or remove race dates from a current race meet without the approval of the race track operator or without holding a public meeting with ten days public notice,'' the CHRB said in a statement.

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The Chairman, Vice Chairman and the Executive Director recommended to Santa Anita management that they suspend racing for the seven remaining race days but that they allow horses to continue to train during that period.

Santa Anita officials said they expected to issue a statement later Sunday.

The number of deaths at the track have prompted calls from animal-advocacy groups and some politicians for a halt in racing at Santa Anita, or even to ban the sport in California altogether.

Racing was halted at the track for most of March while examinations were conducted on the track.

In early April, Santa Anita officials announced a series of new measures to help bolster the safety of horses at the track, including restrictions on certain medications, requiring trainers to get permission in
advance before putting a horse through a workout and investing in diagnostic equipment to aid in the early detection of pre-existing conditions.

CNS contributed to this report