With just days left until it hosts one of the most-watched horse races in America, the Santa Anita race track is coming under new scrutiny after another horse died in an accident on the track — the 35th overall to die since December.
As KABC reported, a 5-year-old race horse named G Q Covergirl injured both front legs while training on Friday and had to be euthanized. The track has seen an unusual spate of horse deaths over the course of the last year, prompting local and state officials to speak out and animal rights groups to call for the track to be closed.
The death comes just days before the Breeder’s Cup, one of the most-anticipated events in horse racing and the marquee event of the Santa Anita season. The event now is in danger of being overshadowed by the rise in horse deaths, with 35 dying since December and 71 in total since the start of the 2018 season.
After Friday’s horse death, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called for records of trainer Phil D’Amato to be made public.
“If horse racing ever needed a three strikes rule, it’s now,” the organization said in a press release, via KABC.
“Trainer Phil D’Amato’s training and medication records need to be investigated and released to the public and the horses still in his barn should be thoroughly examined. G Q Covergirl was trained by D’Amato until June, when she was claimed by Doug O’Neill. D’Amato also trained Satchel Paige, who died on October 19, and Formal Dude, who died on June 8-the same day that G Q Covergirl was transferred to O’Neill.”
The Santa Anita race track has already taken action against trainers amid the spate of horse deaths. As The Inquisitr reported, Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was banned for life from the facilities back in June after the death of a 4-year-old gelding, the fourth horse under his care to die in an accident on the track.
Officials at Santa Anita have not been able to identify the cause of the unusual number of horse deaths. The track was closed down for a stretch earlier this year as officials tested the track, and a series of new safety measures were put in place. But the new measures have done little to address the issue, and there is now new scrutiny on the Santa Anita track ahead of this week’s Breeder’s Cup.