Another horse has died after suffering a catastrophic injury at Santa Anita racetrack in California, the 32nd to die at the track since last December.
The 3-year-old colt named Emtech was euthanized on Saturday after breaking two front legs in a fall during a meet at the track, ABC News reported. The jockey, two-time Kentucky Derby winner Mario Gutierrez, was thrown from the horse during the fall and landed near the inside track. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital, but was not injured in the incident.
The accident was described as jarring for those in attendance, as the horse struggled to get back to its feet and was unable to stand. Workers hurried to put up a green screen to hide the seriously wounded animal from the crowd, and it was euthanized soon afterward.
The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita, released a statement afterward saying that the horse’s death would be investigated.
“There’s an expected level of safety and accountability that is required to participate at a Stronach Group racetrack,” according to a TSG statement. “If anything less is found which could have contributed to this incident, it will be addressed immediately.”
It was just the second day of the season at Santa Anita, a difficult start for a track already under intense scrutiny for its safety. The track ended last season with another spate of horse deaths, including one in June that led to a lifetime ban for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
The track at Santa Anita has been under fire for an unusually high number of horse deaths over the course of the last 10 months. Track officials have attempted to find an underlying cause for the fatal accidents, and the track itself had been shut down for long stretches earlier this year, as both the track and training facility were studied to see if any factors could be determined. Officials have also put in a series of precautionary measures meant to improve safety, but the horse deaths have continued at an elevated rate.
As The Inquisitr noted, the rise in horse deaths at Santa Anita has led to many local and statewide officials speaking out, with some calling for the track to be closed down. The rise in horse deaths could also overshadow one of racing’s biggest events in a few weeks. Santa Anita Park is scheduled to host the Breeder’s Cup during the first week in November, which would put the track in the national spotlight.