Greyhound racing bosses have halted racing at Whanganui's Hatrick Raceway, pending a review into the track's safety.
Greyound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) made the announcement on Thursday afternoon.
Chief executive Glenda Hughes said the decision to close the track was made in consultation with the Racing Integrity Board, amid ongoing safety concerns.
"The health and welfare of our greyhounds is paramount," Hughes said.
GRNZ said an independent assessment and review of the Whanganui track will be "urgently conducted".
"We will use the findings of the assessment to implement the changes necessary to ensure that the track provides consistently safe footing for our greyhounds."
This week the Chronicle reported six dogs were injured in a single day at the track last week.
It was also revealed this year nine dogs had died as a result of racing at the track over the 2020/21 season - five within 18 days.
Hughes said that the decision was made after multiple incidents at the Whanganui track.
"We continually monitor and assess activities at all of our tracks with the key priority being the care of our dogs. In regard to the Whanganui track, over the last 12 months on nine occasions we have abandoned racing because of our concerns for the dogs."
"Due to the varying and ongoing nature of these issues we are not confident that no further issues may occur. Hence we have suspended the use of the track until we can regain this confidence."
She added the organisation is currently working to bring experts, both local and international, to Whanganui to determine what action should be taken to improve the track.
"With the current lockdown and suspension of this track we are aware that our participants will be affected. We will look to revise the racing calendar to offset the impact.
"We will wait until we get the independent recommendations from the experts review before we make any decisions as to next steps."
Hughes confirmed there is no known timeframe as to when racing at the track will resume.
Long-time NZ Herald racing writer Michael Guerin said it's almost guaranteed the condition of track was to blame for the injuries.
"The issue with the Whanganui track will almost certainly be the track surface, with lower leg injuries the most common risk for greyhounds," Guerin explained.
"Fixes could include re-surfacing the track to ensure it isn't patchy or gets too hard after rain and potentially even increasing the camber on bends so dogs are comfortable with more even weight distribution on their legs when cornering at speed."
GRNZ has previously told the Chronicle it had encountered difficulty with the condition of the track.
"GRNZ appointed a track advisor to oversee the preparation of consistent racing surfaces and on his recommendation, manufactured and deployed specialist track groomers around NZ," Racing Operations and Welfare Manager Michael Dore said in July.
"Whanganui's was delivered around Christmas time and training took place in January. Of the eight track-related deaths at Whanganui, six occurred prior to the groomer being in operation. Also in April, GRNZ, in association with the Whanganui Club, replaced the starting boxes at the track."
The track is one of New Zealand's most utilised, with racing a regular Friday night fixture throughout the year.
'A good result' - animal welfare group
Animal rights organisation SAFE has repeatedly called for the closure of the track, going so far as to label the popular racing ground a "death track" in January.
Since that point, the group says 196 dogs have been injured while racing at the track.
In a statement to the Chronicle, spokesperson Will Applebe said a review into the track should have been conducted sooner.
"This is a good result, but it's too late for the countless dogs who have been injured and killed at the Whanganui track this year."
"It's appalling that the GRNZ has taken nine months to take action at this track, especially given the heightened scrutiny of the industry."
Recently, a report into the sport was completed, with Racing Minister Grant Robertson saying that the industry was "on notice".
"[The report] makes it clear the social licence to operate the sport of greyhound racing is under challenge," Robertson said earlier this month.
That report found that 923 dogs had been euthanised nationwide since 2017, with reasons ranging from aggression to injury and illness.
Applebe said that the group has hopes the track will remain closed moving forward.
"Ultimately though, until the Government bans greyhound racing, dogs like the ones raced in Whanganui will continue to suffer.