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May 21, 2019

California racetrack reopens after 21 horse deaths

March 12, 2019
A general view of Santa Anita Park is shown Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Arcadia, Calif. (Jae C. Hong / AP)

Nearly a week after Santa Anita racetrack suspended races following the 21st death of a horse in 10 weeks, the storied track has resumed operations, with some new protocols in place.

Track officials announced that the main track will be opening for “limited training” and the track had new safety regulations to stop the spike in horse deaths.

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“Santa Anita’s main track will remain closed for live racing until outside experts let us know that it is safe to resume racing,” Stronach Group COO Tim Ritvo said March 5.

The track ended up canceling its biggest race of the year as a result.

Ritvo announced Monday that an “equine welfare position” would soon be filled at the track. That person would work with the emergency response team as well as the overall veterinarian department. Several vets were being added to monitor practices and overall horse health, too.

There are also new “house rules” that require “complete transparency of veterinary records to provide a full medical history” of each horse at the track.

PETA said in a statement that the new rules, regulations and jobs are “a step in the right direction,” but “don’t go far enough.” The group called for more oversight.

“These animals aren’t machines to be driven mercilessly,” the group said.

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