24 horses have now died in five months at Santa Anita Park in California.
Commander Coil, a 3-year-old gelding, sustained a shoulder injury while galloping during training hours on Friday morning and had to be euthanized. It was the 24th fatality since December 26 and the first since March 31.
“Equine shoulder injuries are rare, especially for a horse that is galloping as opposed to breezing or racing,” Santa Anita track owner The Stronach Group said in a statement. “A comprehensive evaluation will be completed to understand what might have caused this uncommon injury.”
The track closed for three weeks back in March to figure out what was causing the deaths, where they also implemented various reforms involving race-day medication and safety.
On the East coast at Pimlico Race Course, the host of the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes, a 3-year-old filly named Congrats Gal died after pulling up and finishing last in the Miss Preakness Stakes on Friday.
“Congrats Gal suffered sudden death after the eighth race today,” the Stronach Group, which owns both Pimlico and Santa Anita, said in another statement. “The incident occurred after the wire. Commission veterinarians attended to the horse immediately. Our thoughts go out to all of the owners, trainers and connections of Congrats Gal.”
The 144th Preakness Stakes is set to run at Pimlico at 6:48 p.m. ET, where Improbable is currently listed as the favorite at 3-1, followed by Alwaysmining and Bourbon War at 5-1, War of Will at 7-1, and Owendale at 9-1.