Nation & World

30th horse dies at Santa Anita; Hall of Fame trainer banned

From left, jockey Rafael Bejarano, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and owner Mark DeDominco, raise the Oaks trophy after Blind Luck, with Bejarano aboard, won at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on April 30, 2010. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)
From left, jockey Rafael Bejarano, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and owner Mark DeDominco, raise the Oaks trophy after Blind Luck, with Bejarano aboard, won at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on April 30, 2010. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)
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Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was banned from Santa Anita after a fourth horse in his care died while racing or training.

American Currency, a 4-year-old gelding, was euthanized on Saturday after suffering a left leg injury while exercising on the training track. It was the 30th horse fatality -- and the fourth trained by the 73-year-old Hollendorfer -- at Santa Anita since the racing season began Dec. 26.

Two other horses in his stable have died recently at Golden Gates Fields, a track near San Francisco that is owned by the Stronach Group, which also owns Santa Anita.

The Stronach Group implemented safety and welfare reforms at its tracks in March.

“Individuals who do not embrace the new rules and safety measures that put horse and rider safety above all else, will have no place at any Stronach Group racetrack,” the Stronach Group said in a statement Saturday.

“We regret that Mr. Hollendorfer’s record in recent months at both Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields has become increasingly challenging and does not match the level of safety and accountability we demand. Effective immediately, Mr. Hollendorfer is no longer welcome to stable, race or train his horses at any of our facilities.”

Hollendorfer’s four horses who were scheduled to run this weekend at Santa Anita were scratched. Santa Anita’s racing season ends Sunday.

Hollendorfer called the decision to remove him from the tracks “pretty extreme.”

“I don’t know why this horse pulled up this morning,” Hollendorfer told Horse Racing Nation. “We’re trying to check that out. ...

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“I’ve been a Hall of Fame trainer for quite a few years now, and I’ve been on the racetrack for almost 40 years. I’ve run 33,500 horses. I haven’t had that many problems on injuries. I have had some injuries here at Santa Anita. I have lots of employees who work for me who are worried about -- could they depend on me? I have about 100 horses that I’m training right now.”

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