Two days after the Santa Anita racetrack reopened following a shutdown to allow track operators to investigate why so many horses were getting injured and euthanized, another horse got injured and was euthanized. Arms Runner, a 5-year-old horse, fell on the dirt and broke his right leg yesterday during a race. His injury was reportedly “catastrophic” and he was euthanized shortly after.
Arms Runner is the 23rd horse to die in the last three months at Santa Anita. The track shut down on March 5 after news broke that 21 horses had died in a two-month period, and though nobody could figure out why horses kept dying, the track surface was apparently not the primary issue. So the track reopened for workouts on March 11, and three days later, Princess Lili B fell, broke both of her front legs, and was subsequently euthanized.
In the wake of the track’s 22nd death, officials announced a ban on several same-day drugs and also introduced other measures designed to keep horses safer on race days. Last weekend marked the first official racing action since the initial shutdown one month ago, and Arms Runner fell after dozens of successful races took place on the track throughout the weekend. From the LA Times:
The accident occurred on a unique grass course, which starts at the top of a hill, includes a slight right turn and at the bottom has an 80-foot dirt crossing over the dirt track before returning to grass. Arms Runner was a few strides from returning to the grass when he fell.
Despite 23 horses dying since Christmas, track operators still don’t know why Santa Anita is so deadly. The track is scheduled to reopen for workouts today and will host races again this weekend, including the Santa Anita Derby, which has a $1,000,000 purse.