LOSANGELES (Reuters) – Santa Anita Park has cancelled horse racing indefinitely after the latest in a series of horse fatalities at the renowned track.
The track has now suffered 21 fatalities since the winter meet began on Dec. 26.
Santa Anita also announced on Tuesday that it has hired Dennis Moore, the former track superintendent, as a consultant to help lead study of the track surface that is causing deaths.
The California Horse Racing Board is also investigating the matter.
The announcement of suspension comes as the track was set to host a big racing weekend that featured the Santa Anita Handicap for older horses and the San Felipe Stakes for 3-year-old Kentucky Derby hopefuls.
Mick Peterson, an expert from the University of Kentucky on surfaces who was brought in last week to examine the track, acknowledged a shut-down may be necessary prior to the decision.
“If you can’t figure it out, you have to quit racing,” Peterson told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. “I’ve told (racing secretary) Steve Lym, keep testing until we know what’s going on. We’re all in. We’re going to figure it out.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)