ARCADIA, Calif. – A 3-year-old gelding has died after he was bumped by another horse at Santa Anita Park, dumping his jockey, who was taken to a hospital for evaluation, state horse racing officials told City News Service Saturday.
Heaven’s Music had 17 career races, including a first-place finish at Santa Anita in May. He was hit by Mighty Matt, also a 3-year-old gelding, near the eight pole of Friday’s fourth race, with both horses unseating their jockeys.
Mighty Matt walked off, but Heaven’s Music suffered an ankle injury and was later euthanized, according to Mike Marten, spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board.
“Jockey Erick Garcia, who was thrown to the ground, was transported to a hospital for evaluation,” Marten told CNS.
Neither horse officially finished the race. An official steward’s inquiry into the collision was conducted and no change was made.
Heaven’s Music is the 11th horse to die from a racing or training injury at the Arcadia track this year alone. No Ice Cream, another 3-year-old gelding, suffered a “sudden death” during training on Oct. 6, according to the CHRB.
After the completion of Santa Anita’s winter-spring season in June, track officials hailed what they called major improvements in horse safety, and called the facility the safest track in North America compared to those with similar racing and training activity.
CHRB records show a total of nine equine deaths at the track during the winter-spring season.
Park officials called the safety record a 62.5% improvement over the previous year, and a 74% improvement since spring of 2019.
A total of 42 horses died at the facility in 2019, sparking widespread debate about safety issues at the track and about horse-racing in general. The uproar led to procedural and veterinary oversight changes at the park.