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Ebeko Euthanized on Second Day of Racing Season at Santa Anita
Ebeko was the first casualty of the new horse racing season at Santa Anita Park, California, on Saturday, December 26. The two-year-old colt was euthanized shortly after collapsing on the turf during the Eddie Logan Stakes.
Ebeko trailed for the entirety of the race and fractured the cannon bone in his left front leg when rounding a corner of the track, falling face-first into the turf.
Jockey, Joel Rosario, fell from Ebeko after the horse collapsed, but he did not suffer any serious injuries and was taken to a nearby ambulance for assessment. Rosario was unharmed and raced later in the afternoon.
In a statement following the accident, a Santa Anita spokesperson said: “During race 3 at Santa Anita Park, Ebeko sustained an injury to his left front leg. Ebeko was immediately attended to by track veterinarians and triaged on the turf course. Given the extent of the fracture and the nature of the injury, it was unfortunately determined that it was an unrecoverable injury."
End of a Promising Career for Ebeko
Ebeko, who was trained by Peter Miller, finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf race at Keeneland in November. He then finished fourth in the Grade 3 Cecille B. DeMille at Del Mar two weeks later.
Throughout his racing career, Ebeko ran eight races, finished first on two separate occasions, and earned a total of $122,430.
Before the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita, Ebeko was reportedly in good health and had no prior injuries leading up to the race. However, UC Davis' school of veterinary medicine will carry out a necropsy following the incident.
In response to the necropsy, a statement Santa Anita said: "The accident and the necropsy report will be reviewed by a team to learn what, if anything, could have been done to have prevented the accident.”
A Second Racing Fatality in Two Weeks at Santa Anita
Ebeko’s life-ending injury on December 26 came less than two weeks after Penelope Rose, a two-year-old Philly, was euthanized after fracturing her leg when training at Santa Anita on Wednesday, December 16.
Penelope Rose suffered a fracture of her right front humerus and collapsed on the turf while galloping along the main track. It was the first fatality Southern California daytime thoroughbred racing had in three months.
However, Santa Anita has a chequered past with horse racing fatalities. Since the beginning of 2020, 16 horses have been euthanized after sustaining severe injuries at the venue.
In the 2018/19 racing season alone, there were 37 horse fatalities at Santa Anita from racing and training incidents combined. As a result, the race track was forced to shut down in 2019 following the high number of deaths. The amount of deaths is supposedly lower in 2020 because less racing took place at the venue due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the severe forest fires in California.
Although spectators cannot attend horse racing events in California, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, bettors placed over $23 million on the 11 race-card at Santa Anita on December 26, surpassing the track’s previous high of $21 million in 2018.