Los Alamitos had its 28th racing or training death since the season started on Dec. 27 when quarter horse Hit It Up died Wednesday morning, five days after suffering an injury in the last race on Friday’s program. Hit It Up was running in an allowance race when he was pulled up and vanned off the track.
The 2-year-old gelding was taken back to his stall and examined on two days by the California Horse Racing Board veterinarian with additional examinations by the trainer Ramiro Zuazo’s veterinarian, according the Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the CHRB. Arthur said the injury was consistent with a spine injury but was awaiting a necropsy result before a determination of the exact cause of death. Arthur did not have a report on what happened since the last examination by the CHRB veterinarian over the weekend.
Hit It Up was running in a 300-yard allowance race for a purse of $11,000. This was his sixth race, having won a maiden claiming race two races before this. He had won $7,826 lifetime.
The Equine Injury Database, which tracks racing deaths, will not count this one because the death happened more than three days after the injury occurred. Arthur noted that it would be counted by the CHRB because it was probably the direct result of racing. It was the first racing or training death at Los Alamitos since Sept. 13.
Los Alamitos came under the scrutiny of the CHRB in the summer when eight horses died either racing or training between May 26 and July 5. The track was put on a 10-day probationary period during which two more horses died. The CHRB took Los Alamitos off probation when it announced enhanced safety protocols.
At last Thursday’s CHRB teleconference meeting, chairman Dr. Greg Ferraro said the Board was looking for greater reductions in fatalities and that more scrutiny can be expected. Ferraro was not blaming the racing surface, but instead questioned “the conduct of trainers and veterinarians.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.