Third horse in a little more than two weeks dies at Santa Anita

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FILE - In this March 5, 2019, file photo, a statue of Zenyatta stands in the paddock gardens area at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. An investigation into numerous horse deaths at Santa Anita Park found no criminal wrongdoing but produced a list of recommendations for improving safety at all California racetracks, the Los Angeles County district attorney said in a report Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
A statue of Zenyatta stands in the paddock gardens area at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. Eleven horses have died at Santa Anita since the winter-spring meeting began Dec. 26. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Santa Anita had its third racing or training fatality in a little more than two weeks when Pushing Sixty was injured in the first race Sunday while exiting the far turn while running in a starter allowance turf race. The injury, a fractured left front ankle, was considered too severe for recovery, and the horse was euthanized.

It was the 11th racing or training death since the meeting started Dec. 26. Santa Anita has three more racing days before the meeting ends.

Meet at Dudley’s was euthanized after a training accident Wednesday, and Agamemnon died as the results of injuries suffered racing May 31. During the 2019 winter-spring meeting, 30 horses died. During that year, the 11th dead occurred Jan. 25.

The combination of added safety protocols and less racing have been factors in the reduction of fatalities since Santa Anita became a national story because of the severe increase in deaths.

Pushing Sixty was a 4-year-old filly trained by Ben Cecil and ridden by Mario Gutierrez. Paul and Zillah Reddam, who had two Kentucky Derby winners, were the owners.

The horse had won two of nine races, including her previous one, a starter optional claimer. Sunday’s race was a starter allowance race with a $50,000 purse. She was leading most of the race going one mile on the turf when she appeared to go into distress. It also impacted the horse behind her, Sherlinda, who checked hard when Pushing Sixty started to break down. Sherlinda is listed as not finishing the race. However, she eventually crossed the finish line and walked back to the barn.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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