Santa Anita to reopen main track for limited training

Protesters at the famous Santa Anita race track in Arcadia California where 21 horses have died in the past two months

Protesters at the famous Santa Anita race track in Arcadia California where 21 horses have died in the past two months

The track, which has been closed since Tuesday, will be "restricted to joggers and gallopers", a statement from the park said, referring to gaits for horses.

"We're looking forward to returning to normal, but it will be a new normal", said Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of The Stronach Group.

- Trainers who want to put a horse through timed, high-speed training exercises will be required to ask for permission 24 hours in advance. "We need to work together and continue to create not only our own internal audits, but an open and honest dialogue with all of the stakeholders and evaluate best practices at other racetracks around the world".

In the past two months, 21 horses have needlessly died at the Santa Anita Park horseracing track in Arcadia, California.

Santa Anita is imposing new rules to scrutinize horses training on its racetrack and adding a director of equine welfare following the deaths of 21 horses since December 26.

The track, first opened to racing in 1934, has played a key role in USA thoroughbred horse racing, often hosting major races including the Breeders' Cup. The first 15 minutes of training after the main track opens, and after each renovation break, are now exclusively reserved for horses working for an officially clocked time.

Extensive testing of the Santa Anita main track began today with trackman Dennis Moore and Dr. Mick Peterson of Racing Services Testing Lab at the forefront.

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Qidra also said that 48 Palestinians had been wounded by Israeli gunfire, including four medics, two women and 15 children. According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 267 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since March 30.

- The track is also instituting a "House Rule" requiring "complete transparency with regard to veterinary records", requiring that the records follow the horse through changes in trainers or owners. Officials say it will reduce the number of horses on the track at the same time and create a safer environment.

TSG plans to hire an accredited vet as the new director of equine welfare. That person will lead a rapid response team for injuries and conduct transparent investigations into the injury while communicating the findings to the racing and general public.

Santa Anita Park was scheduled this weekend to host the Santa Anita Handicap, a race for older horses, as well as the San Felipe Handicap, an important preparatory race to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

"What they're trying to do is the right thing", said Jim Cassidy, president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers.

Ritvo said that depending on the status of the track inspection and the weather, racing could potentially resume at the track on March 21 or March 22.

"As horse lovers first and foremost, we are deeply saddened by the losses experienced over the past several weeks. Now, everyone has bought into the process as they realize they are also on the receiving end of this information meant to understand the full medical history of that horse".

Ritvo said TSG will invest in any new technology or equipment that will help discover pre-existing injuries in horses. "It's why we get up every day".

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