A four-year-old gelding named American Currency was euthanized after sustaining an injury on Santa Anita’s training track on Saturday. It was the first time that a horse died as a result of a training track injury, and the 30th death of the racing season at Santa Anita. It was also the fourth death in Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s stable, which led to ownership banning him from the California track.
“I’m training over 100 horses right now,” Hollendorfer told the Daily Racing Form. “Santa Anita didn’t want me stay on the grounds. My opinion was that was a premature thing to do. I thought it was extreme. Now I have to step away for a while.”
Since a bombshell story released in March revealed that 21 horses had died at Santa Anita up to that point, the racetrack has been nothing but a stream of bad news. When a three-year-old filly named Truffalino became the 29th horse to die at the track one June 10, representatives of the track promised an in-depth investigation that would result in horse safety being better served in the long run. All that governing bodies needed to do was allow the season to run its course so they could “reform and improve racing every day.”
Where this death differs is the fact that it led to the ousting of a renowned trainer. Since beginning his career in 1979, Hollendorfer’s horses have won 7,617 races (65 this season alone) and earned $199,737,768 in purse money. Now, horses of his that were entered into races on Saturday and Sunday were scratched “out of an abundance of caution until [Santa Anita] can evaluate the stable,” according to Rick Arthur, California equine medical director, per Daily Racing Form.
The first death from Hollendorfer’s stable this year happened on Dec. 30, when a 4-year-old gelding died after a race on the dirt. After that was a colt named Battle of Midway, who sustained a fatal injury in late February during a workout at the track. Then came a nine-year-old gelding named Kochees, who was euthanized on May 26 after he injured his left front leg in a race.