A 3-year-old colt sustained a catastrophic injury in the eighth race at Santa Anita and was euthanized Saturday, the 32nd horse to die at the track since December. Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Mario Gutierrez was tossed off in the incident on the second day of the fall meet at Santa Anita, where the Breeders' Cup world championships are to be run in November. Track officials said Gutierrez wasn't injured, reports the AP, but was taken away by ambulance. Track vet Dr. Dana Stead said that Emtech had two broken front legs and she made the decision to euthanize the colt on the track. Workers hurried to put up a green screen to shield the foundering colt from the crowd, his front legs unable to withstand his weight. Dr. Dionne Benson, chief vet for The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita, said a review would be opened to consider the factors that contributed to Emtech's injury.
She said the colt would have a necropsy at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, which is mandatory for all on-track accidents. Emtech, trained by Steve Knapp, went down in the middle of the track in the upper stretch of the six-furlong, $40,000 claiming race. "There's an expected level of safety and accountability that is required to participate at a Stronach Group racetrack," according to a TSG statement. "If anything less is found which could have contributed to this incident, it will be addressed immediately." The fatalities at Santa Anita since Dec. 26 have raised alarm in California and the racing industry. The majority occurred during the winter months when usually arid Santa Anita was hit with record rainfall totaling nearly a foot. Gov. Gavin Newsom has made comments critical of the sport. The death occurred just before the day's two major stakes, both Breeders' Cup qualifying races.
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