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Steps taken to improve horse safety after 17 deaths NY track

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Additional safety measures are being implemented at Saratoga Race Course after the deaths of 17 horses on the grounds so far this year.

The New York state Gaming Commission announced Monday the enhanced measures include more veterinarians at the track during training hours.

The agency says the steps are being taken along with the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the New York Racing Association, which operates Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct.

The 17 horse deaths as of Monday are one more than the 2016 total. This year’s deaths include eight on the main track or turf course and at the Oklahoma Track, the training facility.

Eight others have occurred during races since the season began July 21. The other death was a non-racing fatality.

Santa Anita cancels racing after heavy rain inundates track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita has canceled its eight-race card because of wet weather after 3+ inches of rain dropped on the Southern California racetrack in three days.

Officials at the track in Arcadia say heavy overnight rains and more rain throughout the day Thursday made it necessary to cancel. They say the track will make every effort to reschedule the races in the immediate future.

Track superintendent Andy LaRocco says an additional 2 inches of rain was forecast for Thursday.

Live racing will resume on Friday with eight races.

Kentucky Derby purse up to $3 million

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby’s purse will be raised to $3 million this May, an increase of $1 million and the first boost in 14 years.

Churchill Downs said Thursday the winner of the 145th running will receive $1.86 million. The runner-up will earn $600,000, with third place worth $300,000, fourth place $150,000 and fifth place $90,000.

The Derby purse had been $2 million since 2005 and $1 million from 1996-2004.

Track President Kevin Flanery attributes the increase to more bettors using historical racing machines – the electronic form of parimutuel betting – at a recently opened facility near the track.

The second and third legs of the Triple Crown offer total purses of $1.5 million in the Preakness and Belmont stakes.

The purse for the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on May 3 was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million. It had been worth $1 million since 2011 and was worth $500,000 from 1996-2010.

Churchill Downs also increased purses for some races on the Derby Day undercard on May 4.