Track at Santa Anita Park
The track at Santa Anita Park. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Another horse suffered a fatal injury at Santa Anita, where 30 other horses have died during the track’s winter-spring meeting.

Officials diagnosed Zeke, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Dean Pederson, with a pelvic fracture. He  pulled up while working on the training track earlier this week.

That’s considered the safest surface at Santa Anita, according to the Los Angeles Times. Veterinarians tried to save the horse but at 11 p.m. Monday opted for euthanasia.

“Everyone at Santa Anita and throughout The Stronach Group is devastated by the loss,” said Dr. Dionne Benson, the group’s chief veterinarian. “We are carefully reviewing what factors could have contributed to Zeke’s injury.

Benson, whose employer owns Santa Anita, said the group continues to work with the California Horse Racing Board and will “be transparent” with stakeholders and the public.

Before Monday”s death, there had been 1,034 workouts without incident, officials said. Santa Anita opened for training after Del Mar’s summer meet closed and racing moved to Los Alamitos.

Benson said Zeke would undergo a necropsy by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The procedure is mandatory for all on-track accidents.

The accident and necropsy reports will be submitted to the California Horse Racing Board.

Zeke last ran on Aug. 29 at Del Mar, where he finished fifth in a claiming race.

Santa Anita is under unprecedented scrutiny over safety concerns. The track implemented several measures in an attempt to address why so many horses have died.

Officials put new medical protocols in place to make sure horses were as sound as possible before running. In addition, Santa Anita tore up its track in the offseason to install a new drainage system.

The sport is currently in a long stretch of safe racing. It has been 14 weeks since a horse has died racing. Activists, however, are pressing for an end to the sport.

Zeke’s is the fifth training death in Southern California since Santa Anita’s closing day on June 23. Four horses died during training at Del Mar’s seven-week meeting. Two of the deaths came as the result of a freak accident on the second day of the meet when a horse threw his rider and ran head first into another horse. Both died instantly.

Santa Anita’s fall racing meet opens Friday.

– City News Service