Horse euthanized after injury in race at Santa Anita Park

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ARCADIA, Calif. — A 4-year-old gelding was euthanized Wednesday after being injured in a race at Santa Anita Park, the 39th horse death at the Arcadia track since December 2018.

Golden Birthday sustained a hind pastern fracture with sesamoid involvement, according to Santa Anita. He made possible contact with another horse on the turn, the track reported. Golden Birthday was euthanized upon the recommendation of veterinarians.

Golden Birthday sped to the early lead in the mile-and-and-eighth 10th race on Santa Anita’s turf course and angled in, set the pace along the inside, inched away again on the second turn, took a bad step, then drifted out while being pulled up into the stretch, lost rider Victor Espinoza and was vanned off.

Golden Birthday had two wins and two second-place finishes in 10 career starts, earing $117,894. A necropsy will be performed as required by the California Horse Racing Board.

The death is the second at Santa Anita in seven days. The 3-year-old gelding Truest Reward fractured his left shoulder on the training track Dec. 26 and was euthanized.

Golden Birthday’s death prompted PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo to call for Gov. Gavin Newsom or the California Horse Racing Board “to suspend racing until every possible precaution has been taken to protect horses.”

The death was the first among the 145 horses who have raced on Santa Anita’s turf course during the winter/spring meet which began Saturday, according to statistics provided by the track.

There was no immediate response to a request for comment from Santa Anita Park or its parent company, The Stronach Group.

The activist group Horseracing Wrongs plans to conduct a vigil for fallen horses and a demonstration against horse racing Saturday morning outside the track.

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