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Coronavirus: Santa Anita Park Seeks To Resume Horse Racing

Racing at Santa Anita has been suspended since March 27 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Workers from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia are expected to demonstrate outside the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, demanding that spectator-free horse racing be allowed to resume at the park.

Racing at Santa Anita has been suspended since March 27 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Prior to that Santa Anita had held closed door races since March 12.

On April 16, Santa Anita officials met with L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger about “resuming live racing as soon as possible.” Santa Anita announced last Thursday that had submitted a written proposal to both Barger’s office and the L.A. County Public Health Department to resume racing within certain “new protocols.”

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, workers from across the horse racing industry will hold a car caravan outside the Board of Supervisors meeting in downtown L.A.

“We are asking the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and the L.A. County Department of Health to allow us to resume “spectatorless” live racing at Santa Anita,” demonstration organizer and worker advocate Oscar de la Torre said in a statement. “Hundreds of workers risk losing income, housing and health benefits without the financial support that live racing provides. We are making a responsible request to protect public health and the well-being of horses and workers.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, Last Renegade, an unraced 2-year old colt, became the 12th horse to die while racing or training at Santa Anita since the current racing season began in late December.

The horse, trained by Peter Eurton, died after what was termed an accident during training, according to information posted on the California Horse Racing Board’s website.

A necropsy is pending.

A 13th horse, Truest Reward, a 3-year-old gelding, was euthanized after fracturing his left shoulder on the training track the morning of Dec. 26, two days before the winter racing season began.

Since December of 2018, at least 49 horses have died while racing or training at Santa Anita.

A state investigation released last month found no evidence that illegal medication or procedures contributed to the deaths of the 23 horses who died at Santa Anita between Dec. 30, 2018, and March 31, 2019.

Last June, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill giving the California Horse Racing Board the authority to halt racing at Santa Anita if it so chooses.

Los Alamitos Race Track in the Orange County city of Cypress is the only track in California still holding live races. Twelve horses have died there so far this year from race-related injuries.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)