Grand National scrutiny after recent horse deaths

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Associated Press

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 4 at 8:01 AM

AINTREE, England (AP) — The Grand National races are under scrutiny after four horses died in the past year at the event.

The world's most grueling steeplechase begins on Saturday. There's concern about the safety of the horses after two died in each of the last two races.

Recent modifications to the course have failed to satisfy critics and some animal rights groups.

The National — a 4 1/2-mile, 30-fence race — remains one of the fixtures on the British sporting calendar, attracting millions of television viewers and visits to bookmakers each year. Past winners, such as three-time champion Red Rum, have been adopted as national treasures.

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