October 26, 2019 / 3:01 AM / 21 days ago

Horse death toll at Santa Anita climbs to 35

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mare G Q Covergirl was euthanized on Friday after she injured her two front legs while running on the training track at Santa Anita Park, bringing the death toll at the venue to 35 since Dec. 26.

G Q Covergirl earned $200,730 in her 16 starts, which included six first-place finishes, and was trained by Philip D’Amato until June when she was claimed by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Doug O’Neill.

Her death comes one week before the famed Southern California racetrack located outside Los Angeles is set to hold the Breeders’ Cup world championships.

“If horse racing ever needed a three strikes rule, it’s now. 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,” animal rights group PETA said in a statement.

“D’Amato also trained Satchel Paige, who died on October 19, and Formal Dude, who died on June 8.”

D’Amato did not respond to a request for comment.

Santa Anita Park has been under scrutiny over its alarmingly high fatality rate.

Racing at the track was cancelled for more than three weeks in March following a series of fatalities.

Santa Anita hired a consultant to lead a study of the track surface and the California Horse Racing Board also investigated, but the cause of the spike in fatalities remains unknown.

Federal legislation has been introduced aimed at curbing the use of race-day medications in the sport.

Some $22 million in prize money will be up for grabs at the two-day Breeders’ Cup meeting on Nov. 1-2.

Editing by Stephen Coates/Amlan Chakraborty

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