ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — A filly broke both front legs at the end of a workout on the main dirt track at Santa Anita and was euthanized on Thursday, becoming the 22nd horse to suffer catastrophic injuries since Dec. 26.
Trainer and owner David Bernstein said the 3-year-old filly named Princess Lili B broke down just past the finish line after a half-mile workout.
Bernstein told KTLA-TV that Princess Lili B apparently took a step as she changed leads, which led to her breaking her left ankle and then her right ankle. A lead change refers to which set of legs, left or right, leads or advances forward when a horse is galloping.
"She was always very sound and we've never had a problem with her," Bernstein said in the interview. "We didn't have to train her on any medication. She's just a lovely filly to be around."
Bernstein said the filly's exercise rider didn't indicate any problem with the dirt surface.
"I think it's one of those things that happens, sadly enough," the trainer told KTLA.
Bernstein said he wouldn't hesitate to train another horse on Santa Anita's surface again.
"I know they've done the best job they can possibly do," he said. "They're hired a number of great experts to handle this surface."
Santa Anita had reopened its main track for limited workouts on Monday, with horses limited to jogging and galloping while the surface was monitored for any irregularities that may have caused the deaths of 22 horses since the winter meet began on Dec. 26.
This week's workouts were the first conducted under the track's new training protocols, which include two veterinarians observing each horse going to and from the track.