Santa Anita reopens training track while testing continues

              A tractor grooms the dirt track at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., Thursday, March 7, 2019. Extensive testing of the dirt track is under way at eerily quiet Santa Anita, where the deaths of 21 thoroughbreds in two months has forced the indefinite cancellation of horse racing and thrown the workaday world of trainers, jockeys and horses into disarray. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Santa Anita reopened its training track Friday while testing continues on its main dirt track to try to find out why 21 horses have died in the last two months.

Horses were restricted to jogging or galloping on the three-quarter mile training track. No timed workouts were allowed on the surface that’s located both inside the one-mile dirt track and the turf course.

“Like all athletes, horses need to stay active,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said, “so this is a good decision for their overall health since it allows our horses to get out of their stalls and keeps them moving to aid their digestion.”

The training track was inspected by visiting superintendent Dennis Moore and Mick Peterson from the University of Kentucky’s Racing Surfaces Testing Lab. Moore said he’s “happy with it.”

Some trainers, including Baffert, are sending some of their horses to Los Alamitos in Orange County for workouts on the one-mile track there.

Since Dec. 26, 21 horses have been euthanized after suffering catastrophic injuries on Santa Anita’s dirt track while either training or racing. None of the injuries occurred on the training track.

Santa Anita closed its main track and training track Tuesday and suspended racing indefinitely while the dirt track is inspected.

An initial inspection last week found no irregularities. Racing then resumed on Feb. 28 and two more horses suffered fatal injuries.

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