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Victor Espinoza returns to exercising horses after injury

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza has returned to exercising horses at Santa Anita for the first time since being seriously injured in a training accident last summer.

The 46-year-old rider was aboard St. Joe Bay for trainer John Sadler on Saturday.

Espinoza suffered fractured vertebrae and other serious injuries in the July 22 accident at Del Mar. He has spent the last five months rehabilitating in the San Diego area.

The three-time Kentucky Derby winner says his fitness is returning and he plans to work more horses and hopefully resume riding in races soon, although there is no set timetable.

22nd horse suffers fatal injuries at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. – A filly broke both front legs at the end of a workout on the main dirt track at Santa Anita and was euthanized on Thursday, becoming the 22nd horse to suffer catastrophic injuries since Dec. 26.

Trainer and owner David Bernstein said the 3-year-old filly named Princess Lili B broke down just past the finish line after a half-mile workout.

Bernstein told KTLA-TV that Princess Lili B apparently took a step as she changed leads, which led to her breaking her left ankle and then her right ankle. A lead change refers to which set of legs, left or right, leads or advances forward when a horse is galloping.

“She was always very sound and we’ve never had a problem with her,” Bernstein said in the interview. “We didn’t have to train her on any medication. She’s just a lovely filly to be around.”

Bernstein said the filly’s exercise rider didn’t indicate any problem with the dirt surface.

“I think it’s one of those things that happens, sadly enough,” the trainer told KTLA.

Bernstein said he wouldn’t hesitate to train another horse on Santa Anita’s surface again.

“I know they’ve done the best job they can possibly do,” he said. “They’re hired a number of great experts to handle this surface.”

Santa Anita had reopened its main track for limited workouts on Monday, with horses limited to jogging and galloping while the surface was monitored for any irregularities that may have caused the deaths of 22 horses since the winter meet began on Dec. 26.

This week’s workouts were the first conducted under the track’s new training protocols, which include two veterinarians observing each horse going to and from the track.

Santa Anita resumes limited training on main dirt track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Training resumed on Santa Anita’s main dirt track, with horses limited to jogging and galloping while the surface is monitored for any irregularities that may have caused the deaths of 21 horses since December.

Track consultant Dennis Moore says everything went well Monday morning. He says all the testing data supports the decision to allow limited training while racing remains suspended indefinitely.

Moore says if all continues to go well with limited training, timed workouts could resume in the next couple days.

The inner training track has been reopened for timed workouts, with 133 horses being officially clocked for working out at distances ranging from two to six furlongs.

Santa Anita officials say a return to live racing is expected “in the near future.”