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Mongolian Groom's Death Inspires Vigil, New Calls For Santa Anita Park To Close

ARCADIA (CBSLA) — Racing resumed at Santa Anita Park Sunday one day after the death of Mongolian Groom, the 37th horse to die at the track since December.

The four year-old gelding was put down after fracturing his hind leg while running in the $6 million  Breeders' Cup Classic.

Jenifer Rivers and her family have been coming to the Breeders Cup for 31 years, all the way from east coast. She watched Mongolian groom fall in the race Saturday but says it won't stop her from coming back next year: "I think they're careful and they take good care of their horses but there's also room for improvement."

Jockey Abel Cedilo rides Mongolian Groom (2/R/) ahead of Joel Rosario riding Mckinzie (R), Jose Ortiz on Elate (2/L) and eventual winner Irad Ortiz Jr. riding Vino Rosso (L) in the Breeders Cup Classic race at the 2019 Breeders Cup at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, California on November 2, 2019. - Racehorse Mongolian Groom was pulled up at the top of the stretch and loaded into a medical van with what was described as a serious lower hind limb injury. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

But other visitors to the track take a stronger view.

"I'm actually against this place, said Adriana Hernandez. "I'm only here for my husband. But I wish they would close it down, I mean all these horses dying is just so sad."

Outside Santa Anita a group of protesters, some wearing black veils , held vigil for Mongolian Groom. They argue the problem isn't just limited to Santa Anita, but is pervasive in the sport of horse racing.

"As long as horse racing is still here, horses are going to be killed," said protester Amanda Lundberg, "There's no way to make it safer, horses are going to die."

Still others who come to watch the races here at Santa Anita insist the horses are well taken care of.

"We love the horses," said one racing fan. "They get treated better than any of us here."


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