Arcadia, California: Santa Anita reopened its main track for limited training Wednesday while track officials continue to test for reasons behind a rash of fatal horse injuries during the current season.
Santa Anita suspended all training and racing on its dirt and turf tracks March 5 after 21 horses suffered fatal injuries during the meeting that opened the day after Christmas. The track summoned several experts and advanced testing equipment to ensure the tracks were not adversely impacted by a long spell of rainy weather in Southern California.
The track subsequently also implemented a suite of new safety protocols to govern both training and racing.
No date has been set to resume racing. The shutdown forced the cancellation of several important stakes races March 9, including one of the major Kentucky Derby preps, the San Felipe Stakes. Several of the 3-year-olds expected for that race instead will run at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas this Saturday in the Rebel Stakes.
Horses jogged and galloped from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the Santa Anita main track Wednesday morning, with three interruptions for regularly scheduled renovation. Additionally, 133 horses were given timed workouts on Santa Anita’s 6-furlong inner training track.
“Everything went well this morning,” track consultant Dennis Moore said. “The main track is good. All of the test data support what we experienced this morning and that is where it should be.”
Moore indicated that if all continues to go well with limited training, a return to timed breezes on the main track could come in the next day or two.
Image: Animal-rights advocates protest the deaths of racehorses at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, California, on March 3, 2019.