Horses test Santa Anita surface for first time since temporary closure

Training resumed on Santa Anita’s main dirt track Monday, with horses limited to jogging and galloping while the surface is monitored for any irregularities that may have caused the deaths of 21 horses since December.

Track consultant Dennis Moore said “everything went well” and that all the testing data supports the decision to allow limited training while racing remains suspended indefinitely.

Another horse (reportedly the 21st) dies at Santa Anita

Moore said if all continues to go well with limited training, timed workouts could resume in the next couple days.

The inner training track was reopened for timed workouts, with 133 horses being officially clocked for working out at distances ranging from two to six furlongs.

Santa Anita officials say a return to live racing is expected “in the near future.”

Trainer Vladimir Cerin sent 10 horses out on the main track and another six to the training track.

“It really couldn’t be any better,” he said of the dirt surface. “It’s so kind, you can’t hear the horses going by and all of my riders say they’re (horses) getting a good hold of the surface. We could work horses on it right now, no question.”

Monday’s workouts were the first conducted under the track’s new training protocols, which require that all trainers wanting timed workouts for their horses get permission 24 hours in advance.

Two track veterinarians observed each horse going to and from the track.