Natural History became the fourth horse to die while racing or training at Santa Anita since the season opened Dec. 26. The 4-year-old gelding suffered a fracture of his right front ankle Saturday morning during a workout on the training track. Veterinarians determined the injury was unrecoverable, and the horse was euthanized.
It was the first fatality on the training track this meeting. The track is closest to the video boards and not used for racing. Two of the deaths occurred during racing and two in training. One was ruled a sudden death, which is usually associated with a cardiac issue.
Natural History had run 13 races, winning two and earning $55,895 for trainer Bob Hess Jr. The horse was a $180,000 purchase at the Ocala sale in 2019. Most of his career was spent at the claiming level. His last race was a third-place finish in a claiming race Dec. 27 at Santa Anita.
Last year at this time, Santa Anita had five deaths, compared with 13 in 2019 when the track became the subject of national scrutiny because of the number of fatalities. The track instituted a series of reforms, most adopted statewide, that might have led to fewer deaths.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.