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Turf Paradise to soon give pre-race vet exams to all horses

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PHOENIX –Turf Paradise plans to start giving pre-race veterinary examinations to all horses on a given day in an attempt to curb a recent rise in fatalities.

According to a recent study by the Arizona Department of Gaming, 50 horses were euthanized during the 2017-18 season at Arizona racing tracks, mostly after they suffered leg or ankle injuries during a race.

That number is twice the national equine death rate at tracks.

Forty-five of those deaths were at Turf Paradise, and 27 of those were racing-related. The other 18 were due to training, illness or disease.

Turf Paradise officials announced Wednesday that starting March 18, about 65 horses will be examined on race days.

Previously, about 15 horses received pre-race exams per day based on selections by the stewards.

Turf Paradise has 131 live racing days per year from mid-October to early May.

The thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack opened in January 1956.

Santa Anita plans to reopen on Friday

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Anticipating approval by the California Horse Racing Board, Santa Anita plans to reopen for live racing on Friday for the first time since it was shut down following the deaths of 22 horses.

The track on Sunday issued a revised stakes schedule that includes the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap to be run April 6, the same day as the $1 million Santa Anita Derby.

The CHRB is to meet on Thursday to consider new safety and medication rules that Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields and the Thoroughbred Owners of California agreed to on March 16.

Racing has been suspended at the track since March 5 after 22 horses suffered fatal injuries since Dec. 26. Limited training is being allowed on the main dirt track while testing of the surface and new rules involving safety and medication have been worked out.

If the CHRB approves and racing resumes, Santa Anita will feature the $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes on Friday.

The Santa Anita Handicap originally was to be run on March 9.

By My Standards a surprise winner of $1M Louisiana Derby

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NEW ORLEANS — By My Standards passed three horses down the stretch to win the $1 million Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds Race course Saturday.

The winner went off at 22-1 in what is one of the major prep races for the Kentucky Derby, and galloped past Todd-Pletcher-trained Spinoff to win by nearly a length.

Trained by W. Bret Calhoun, By My Standards earned 100 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, assuring qualification for the Triple Crown opener. Jockey Gabriel Saez steered By My Standards into fourth entering the final turn and finished the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:49.2. He paid $47, $16.60 and $9.40.

With John Velazquez aboard, Spinoff earned 40 points with a second place finish and paid $6.80 and $5.40.

Sueno finished third and paid $6.

War of Will was the morning line favorite at 6-5 and went off at 4-6. But after settling in the middle of the pack, the winner of the previous two Fair Grounds prep races faded and finished ninth in what was the colt’s first loss on a dirt track.