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‘Heartbroken’ trainer says he wants answers after two of his horses die at Belmont Park

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The trainer of two horses that died at Belmont Park – home of the Belmont Stakes – said he has been left “heartbroken” and “devastated” by the news.

In the first race at Belmont Park on Sunday, Mashnee Girl fell near the quarter pole, according to industry-owned database Equibase, before being euthanized on the track.

It follows the death of Excursionniste on Saturday, in the 13th and final race of the day, which took place after the prestigious Belmont Stakes – a race won by Arcangelo.

The horse suffered an injury leaving the backstretch, was pulled up, and euthanized on the grass track, according to Equibase.

“Thank God that both riders were not injured. I spoke to both of them and they both told me how well the horses were travelling under them, before taking a tragic bad step.”

At Belmont Park, New York, four horses died while racing or training in the period from May 13 to Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

The news comes in the wake of a series of unexpected deaths at prestigious racetracks that have shaken the world of horse racing.

The owner of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, announced last week that it would suspend racing operations to conduct a “top-to-bottom” review of all safety and surface protocols following the deaths of 12 horses at the racetrack.

The racetrack said it was “troubled” by the deaths. There is no clear cause linking the deaths, according to Churchill Downs.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) said earlier this month that each incident would be “closely reviewed and analyzed” to ensure the organization is “providing the safest possible environment for racing and training.”

In the wake of the most recent deaths, Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of PETA, said in a statement on the animal rights organization’s website: “Two dead Thoroughbreds in two days with the same trainer on the same track means one thing: Belmont Park is failing to protect horses.

“Like Churchill Downs, Belmont must suspend racing immediately to avoid the same bloodbath. Anything less makes Belmont complicit in the fatalities.”

In his statement, Henning said he “desperately” wanted answers regarding the death of his horses but trusted that organiser NYRA was doing its due diligence and examining the course “to ensure maximum safety going forward.”

“We all adore our horses and will continue to insure that our horses are loved and cared for. Thank you to my owners for their unwavering confidence and support,” he said.

“Thank you to all that have reached out to us, to give their support, in this unimaginable bad time. We will continue to grieve and pray over the loss of these two beautiful horses.”

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