2 horses die after 1st race at Southern California track

Animals

Horses warm up in the early morning light at the Breeder’s Cup horse races, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (AP) — Two horses have died at Los Alamitos racetrack in Orange County, adding to the death toll at Southern California tracks this year.

A 4-year-old gelding named Mighty Elijah and a 4-year-old gelding named Into a Hot Spot both died after Saturday’s first race. According to the race chart, Mighty Elijah was injured and taken off the track in a van. Into a Hot Spot collapsed after being unsaddled following the race.

Mighty Elijah was trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has had multiple horses die this year. He was banned from Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, both owned by The Stronach Group. He was initially banned from Del Mar but won a court injunction in July that allowed Hollendorfer to race horses there during the summer.

The sport has been under intense scrutiny since 37 horses died at Santa Anita since last December. The California Horse Racing Board is expected to issue a report on the deaths in January. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is also looking into the deaths but has yet to announce any results.

Los Alamitos’ current meet ends Sunday. Horse racing resumes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

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