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Another horse, the 22nd, dies at Santa Anita. Track announces new plan.

Investigators test the track surface at Santa Anita Park in Santa Anita, Calif. on Thursday March 7, 2019. Santa Anita has canceled horse racing indefinitely to re-examine its dirt surface after the deaths of numerous horses in the last two months.
Investigators test the track surface at Santa Anita Park in Santa Anita, Calif. on Thursday March 7, 2019. Santa Anita has canceled horse racing indefinitely to re-examine its dirt surface after the deaths of numerous horses in the last two months. AP Photo

The tragedies have not stopped at Santa Anita.

One day after Santa Anita’s training track reopened, the 3-year-old filly Princess Lili B suffered fractures in both front legs during a work and was euthanized on Thursday morning at the track, reported the Daily Racing Form. Princess Lili B is the 22nd equine fatality at Santa Anita since the winter meet began on Dec. 26.

Racing has been suspended at the track since March 5 after the 21st fatality. Experts, including those from the University of Kentucky, have been brought it to examine the surface of the tracks at Santa Anita. The Stronach Company, which owns Santa Anita, decided to reopen training on Monday with hopes to resume racing on March 22.

Santa Anita chief operating officer Tim Ritvo told the Daily Racing Form that he was devastated by the breakdown Thursday morning, but that training would continue at the track.

“Maybe I will regret this later,” Ritvo told the DRF. “But that’s the decision I have to make. We think the track is in great condition.”

Princess Lili B was the seventh horse to be fatally injured during training since Feb. 17, according to the Blood-Horse.

Thursday afternoon, The Stronach Group announced that it is instituting a zero-tolerance policy for race-day medications at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields. TSG said they will be the first Thoroughbred tracks in North America to follow International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities guidelines.

“What has happened at Santa Anita over the last few weeks is beyond heartbreaking,” The Stronach Group said in a statement. “It is unacceptable to the public and, as people who deeply love horses, to everyone at The Stronach Group and Santa Anita.

“The sport of horse racing is the last great sporting legacy platform to be modernized. If we expect our sport to grow for future generations, we must raise our standards.

“We have arrived at a watershed moment. The Stronach Group has long been a strong advocate for the abolishment of race-day medication, but we will wait no longer for the industry to come together as one to institute these changes. Nor will we wait for the legislation required to undertake this paradigm shift. We are taking a stand and fully recognize just how disruptive this might be.”

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