The death toll among horses at Santa Anita Park racetrack in Southern California now stands at 37 since last December after a horse was euthanized Saturday following an injury during the last race of the Breeder’s Cup.
Mongolian Groom was put down away from the track after a serious injury to his left hind leg in the $6 million race. A green screen around the ailing 4-year-old gelding blocked spectators at the track and watching on television from witnessing the gruesome scene.
"The death of Mongolian Groom is a loss to the entire horse racing community," a statement from Breeders' Cup Ltd. said. "Our equine and human athletes' safety is the Breeders' Cup's top priority. We have worked closely with Santa Anita leading up to the World Championships to promote enhanced equine safety. Santa Anita has implemented numerous industry-leading reforms to enhance the existing health and safety measures with the intent of providing a safe racing environment."
Both the Stronach Group, which owns the track, and the Breeder’s Cup have implemented changes in the wake of the numerous horse deaths leading up to the race, including stricter rules about medication and training.
The deaths have placed a microscope on the safety of Santa Anita Park's track and the dangers of horse racing in general.
The track suspended racing for more than three weeks in March after multiple horse deaths but it failed to slow the rate of fatalities once racing resumed.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office and the California Horse Racing Board are investigating the causes of the deaths.
No other horses were injured during any of the other races Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.