A two-horse spill in the $100,000 San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita has led to the 23rd equine fatality since Christmas at the Southern California track. Arms Runner injured his right front leg and fell in the Grade 3 race on turf Sunday, two days after Santa Anita reopened to racing after being closed for nearly a month. That caused a trailing horse, La Sardane, to fall. The 5-year-old mare got back on her feet and didn't appear to sustain any injuries. Jockey Ruben Fuentes didn't ride the rest of the day. Arms Runner was tended to by track veterinarians and vanned off. Track stewards said the horse was euthanized, the AP reports.
The accident occurred as the horses crossed the dirt surface during the transition from the hillside turf course to the main turf course. "While this incident happened during competition on a track that has been deemed by independent experts to be safe, we are working closely with the California Horse Racing Board to understand if there was anything additional that we could have done to prevent today’s tragedy," officials said, per NBC. The facility suspended racing March 3 after 21 deaths in the space of 10 weeks, more than double the 2018 death toll. A 22nd horse died days after it reopened for training in March. The track's new policies include restrictions on the use of whips and medication. (Read more horse racing stories.)