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Turf Paradise to soon give pre-race vet exams to all horses

Santa Anita Fatalities Horse Racing

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2014, file photo, exercise riders and horses walk along the track during morning workouts for the Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. A person with direct knowledge of the situation says a 21st horse has died at Santa Anita. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Tuesday, March 5, 2019, because the fatality has not been announced publicly. A total of 21 horses have died since the racetrack’s winter meet began on Dec. 26. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

AP

PHOENIX --Turf Paradise plans to start giving pre-race veterinary examinations to all horses on a given day in an attempt to curb a recent rise in fatalities.

According to a recent study by the Arizona Department of Gaming, 50 horses were euthanized during the 2017-18 season at Arizona racing tracks, mostly after they suffered leg or ankle injuries during a race.

That number is twice the national equine death rate at tracks.

Forty-five of those deaths were at Turf Paradise, and 27 of those were racing-related. The other 18 were due to training, illness or disease.

Turf Paradise officials announced Wednesday that starting March 18, about 65 horses will be examined on race days.

Previously, about 15 horses received pre-race exams per day based on selections by the stewards.

Turf Paradise has 131 live racing days per year from mid-October to early May.

The thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack opened in January 1956.