Santa Anita business community uncertain after horse racing suspended

ARCADIA, Calif. (KABC) -- The business community near Santa Anita Park is expected to take a financial hit after racing was suspended indefinitely when a horse died at the facility on Tuesday, the 21st within a two month span.

The most recent horse death occurred during a training session, prompting track operators to bring in top experts to inspect the track.

"It was a no-brainer. When you have this many issues, you need to take a step back, take a deep breath and get this right," said Mike Willman, an official at Santa Anita Park.

The track was set to host the 82nd Santa Anita Handicap and a qualifier for the Kentucky Derby this weekend.

Track officials are hoping to reschedule the two major races. The Arcadia city manager said the city loses around $5,000 in revenue each day without racing.

Hotels and restaurants surrounding the track are also looking for answers.

"It's going to be a big hit, especially on the weekend for us. I know that after the racing and even before the racing, we get a nice crowd in here," said Genaro Padilla, who was hoping the Villa Catrina Mexican restaurant would cash in on a busy racing weekend.

The park itself is also set to lose out financially.

"I don't have a dollar figure, but it's significant," Willman said. "But again, all that pales in comparison to the issues of safety -- equine and human."
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