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Two more horse fatalities at Santa Anita

A second horse in two days and 29th in the past few months has died at Santa Anita where management has chosen to continue racing.

Truffalino collapsed in the final stages of the third race on turf on Sunday. A track spokesman says the three-year-old filly died of a heart attack.

She was trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and was ridden by Joe Talamo. Truffalino had one win in six career starts.

A day earlier, Formal Dude pulled up in the 10th race after breaking down nearing the finish line. Tiago Pereira was aboard the favourite trained by Phil D’Amato.

The four-year-old gelding, winless in six starts, was later euthanised.

The California Horse Racing Board has recommended the track suspend the remaining days of its meeting which is set to end on June 23 but Santa Anita management has chosen to continue racing.

The racing board does not have the authority to suspend a race meeting or remove race dates without the approval of the track operator or without holding a public meeting that requires 10 days’ notice.

The CHRB recommended Santa Anita suspend racing but allow horses to continue training, believing it would provide the industry extra time to fully implement announced safety initiatives.

“It is our understanding that Santa Anita management, after consultation with certain other industry stakeholders, believes that for a variety of reasons, the future of California racing is best served by continuing to race,” the racing board said in a statement.

In giving Santa Anita 10 days’ notice, the CHRB may be able to shut down the track for the last three days of the meeting.

Santa Anita has enacted a series of reforms aimed at improving safety, but despite its efforts and a six-week stretch in which no horses died at the Arcadia track, more deaths have occurred.

“Either the rules aren’t strong enough or the rules aren’t being followed, but whatever the reason for the deaths of two more horses, Santa Anita needs to listen to the California Horse Racing Board and shut down,” Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said.

Santa Anita is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup meeting on November 1 and 2.

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