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Twentieth horse dies at Santa Anita while racing on sloppy track

A recent surge in equine fatalities at Santa Anita Park has sparked new rule proposals for horse racing, but will it be enough?

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Another horse has died at Santa Anita, making it 20 fatalities at the racetrack since its winter meet began on Dec. 26.

The latest incident occurred Saturday during the third race when 4-year-old filly Eskenforadrink was in the lead of the $16,000 claiming race. Jockey Geovanni Franco pulled her up with an injury to her front leg. The filly was vanned off the track and later euthanized.

The dirt surface was rated sloppy from rain, but it’s unknown whether the track condition played any role in the horse’s injury.

Earlier in the week, Santa Anita closed for two days for extensive testing of its surface. Mick Peterson, a soil and safety expert from the University of Kentucky, proclaimed the track “100 percent ready” to resume racing.

Of the 20 deaths, seven have occurred during a race on the dirt, five have occurred on turf and eight came during training on dirt.

Horses resumed training and racing on Thursday and Friday without incident. Training was canceled on Saturday because of rain.

The weather forecast for the upcoming week calls for several days of rain.