Three horses died over the weekend at Santa Anita Park, a racetrack in southern California where dozens of horses have been injured and subsequently euthanized in recent years.
Tikkun Olam, a 4-year-old gelding, was euthanized after colliding with another horse during a training exercise, the Los Angeles Times reported. The second horse apparently wasn’t injured.
Harliss, a 6-year-old gelding, broke his ankle after running in a race on Friday. A day later, Uncontainable, a 5-year-old gelding, suffered the same injury. Both animals were euthanized.
Santa Anita Park, located about 15 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles in Arcadia, has come under intense scrutiny from government officials and animal rights activists for its high fatality rate. A total of 37 horses died at the racetrack in 2019.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office conducted an investigation last year and concluded in December that there was no criminal misconduct in connection to the horse deaths.
The office did, however, call for the implementation of enhanced safety measures, including mandated inspections of racing facilities and tools to help identify preexisting conditions in racehorses.
Santa Anita has boasted about its new and improved training protocols, including the launch of a racing safety coalition in November.
But for some animal rights activists, the new safety measures are too little too late. This weekend’s deaths drew protesters to Santa Anita Park to demand an end to horse racing altogether.
“We want to bring awareness to the public,” Amanda Lunberg, a member of the group Horseracing Wrongs, told CBS Los Angeles. “We believe when the public knows better that they will do better and they will fight to protect the rights and, at this point, the lives of innocent animals that have no choice or no say in this bloodsport.”
Neither the California Horse Racing Board nor the Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita Park, immediately returned HuffPost’s requests for comment.
Nina Golgowski contributed reporting.