October 20, 2019 / 1:53 AM / a month ago

Horse death toll at Santa Anita reaches 34

(Reuters) - Another horse died at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, bringing to 34 the number to have perished at the southern California track since December.

The Stronach Group track owners announced that three-year-old gelding Satchel Paige had been “humanely euthanized” after the fifth race on the card.

The latest death comes less than two weeks before the track hosts the high-profile Breeders’ Cup world championships.

In a statement, Stronach Group said the horse had been pulled up during the race and subsequently diagnosed with an open fracture of his left front ankle.

“Satchel Paige will undergo a necropsy ... on behalf of the California Horse Racing Board, as is mandatory for all on-track accidents,” said Stronach Group chief veterinarian Dionne Benson.

“The accident and the necropsy report will be reviewed to learn what, if anything, could have been done to prevent the accident.”

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

Racing at the track was canceled 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.

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

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom

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