03/02/2011 4:25PM

Another fatality during training hours at Santa Anita


Square Face, an unraced 3-year-old, was euthanized as a result of injuries suffered in a morning workout at Santa Anita on Wednesday, the 11th horse lost because of injuries or accidents in training or racing on the sand-and-clay main track since the meeting began on Dec. 26, according to California Horse Racing Board statistics.

At the 2009-2010 winter-spring meeting, when Santa Anita conducted racing on a synthetic track, there were two horses lost during racing. Wednesday, Dr. Rick Arthur, the racing board’s equine medical director, said that comparisons between the two years are difficult.

He described the 2009-2010 racing season at Santa Anita as “an unusually safe year. It was almost European levels.”

Through Sunday, there have been five horses euthanized as a result of injuries suffered in races on the main track, including one who could not be saved after being injured in a fall. Through Wednesday, there have been six lost during training, including one injured in a collision and another from an internal injury.

The current meeting ends on April 17, and is the first run on a conventional track at Santa Anita since 2007.

“This year will be better than the last dirt year unless things just fall apart in the next month and a half,” Arthur said.

Santa Anita installed a sand-and-clay track in November and December and began racing on the surface on Dec. 26. The synthetic surface was replaced last fall after repeatedly failing to drain during wet weather and because of concern expressed by horsemen’s groups over the condition of the surface.