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Home / racehorse deaths

15th horse dies this year at Los Alamitos racetrack

Another racehorse has died at Los Alamitos, state horse racing officials have confirmed.

January Magic, a 2-year-old colt with just one race in his career, died Thursday after suffering a training injury, according to the California Horse Racing Board.

He is the ninth horse to die from a racing or training injury at the Cypress track in 2022. Another six racehorses have died from “other” causes this year, according to the CHRB website.

January Magic was owned by Dennis January and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Hollendorfer has been banned from tracks owned by The Stronach Group — including Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields — after six of the Hall of Fame trainer’s horses were catastrophically injured at those two tracks between December 2018 and June 2019. He later sued, challenging the company’s jurisdiction in that decision.

Earlier this year, Los Alamitos took a series of steps aimed at improving safety following a spate of four horse deaths in an 11-day span.

According to the CHRB, Los Alamitos has eliminated the use of “high toe grabs” — similar to cleats worn by football players to give them better traction on turf — on rear horseshoes. The track also eliminated the “breaking bar” in quarter-horse races. The bar is similar to a starting block in track meets, adding traction at the start of a race.

The track also consulted with a racing surface expert to determine if the track surface is a contributing factor to the injuries, and it contacted UC Davis to “fund a study of lumbar fractures in quarter-horses,” CHRB officials said.

Eleven horses died from a racing or training injuries at Los Alamitos in 2021, with another two deaths listed as “other.” The track was briefly placed on probation by the CHRB in July 2020 due to another spate of racehorse deaths. At that time, at least 20 horses had died at the track in 2020 after suffering racing or training injuries.

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