Race track featured in HBO's "Luck" cancels races indefinitely after 21 horses die




· California's Santa Anita racetrack announced on Tuesday that it was suspending races indefinitely after 21 horses have died since December 26th. The closure means two prestigious races - the Santa Anita Handicap and the San Felipe Handicap, which is a major prep race for 3 y/o horses hoping to qualify for the Kentucky Derby - will have to be postponed. Both races were scheduled for Saturday
· The deaths include 2017 Breeders Cup winner Battle of Midway who died during training on Saturday. The 21st death was a 4 year old filly called Light the Way who died after sustaining an injury during training on a dirt track
· The cause of the injuries is unknown. Experts looked for surface irregularities on the track but none were found. Some say the horses may be drugged, although there is no evidence to support this. It could also be that the horses' bodies are not strong, as they are bred for speed. It may also be the weather, as Santa Anita has seen 12" of rain since the track opened in December; during rainy weather, the track is sealed, a process which presses the dirt down and allow water to roll off it. Safety & racing-surface expert Mick Peterson inspected the track and said it was 100% safe for racing. Nearby Los Alamitos Race Track offered their track for training while Santa Anita is closed
· Following the 20th death last week, PETA staged protests outside the track and called on Gov Gavin Newsom to shut it down
· The racetrack was embroiled in controversy after two horses died during the 2012 filming of HBO's "Luck." The show was cancelled following the deaths, citing animal safety concerns






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