30th horse dies at Santa Anita Park this race season

FILE – In this May 3, 2008, file photo, track personnel try to hold down Eight Belles after the 134th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Eight Belles was euthanized after breaking both front ankles following a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. The alarming rate of horse deaths from races and training at Santa Anita Park, in California, plunged the industry into chaos as experts across the country wondered what went wrong and groups rushed to try to figure out solutions. (AP Photo/Brian Bohannon, File)

A 30th horse has died at Santa Anita Park in Southern California since the race season began. A California Horse Racing Board rep confirmed to CBS News that American Currency, a 4-year-old gelding, was hurt while exercising and subsequently euthanized Saturday morning.

American Currency is the fourth horse trained by Jerry Hollendorfer that has died this season at the track, CBS Los Angeles reports. According to The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita, Hollendorfer “is no longer welcome to stable, race or train his horses at any of our facilities.”

The animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a statement praising officials for banning Hollendorfer but still calling for further action.

“PETA and Social Compassion in Legislation are working with the California Horse Racing Board and California legislators to enact rules and legislation to get to zero fatalities and this means that trainers with multiple violations must not be licensed in this state. Ending all racing cruelty would be the best, but nothing less than these conditions is acceptable,” PETA said in a statement.

According to a CBS Los Angeles investigation, more than 60 horses have died at Santa Anita Park since the beginning of 2018. The recent spate of deaths has been met with condemnation by state lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“I continue to be troubled by the horse deaths at Santa Anita Park,” Newsom said earlier this month. “Enough is enough.”

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is investigating the recent increase of horse deaths. The racing season ends tomorrow amid increasing calls for the track to be shuttered.

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