WELLINGTON, Fla. (AP) — Florida authorities have begun a criminal investigation into the deaths of 21 polo horses from a Venezuelan-owned team preparing to play a match over the weekend.

Some of the horses collapsed and died Sunday as they were unloaded from trailers at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington. Others died later at clinics and stables.

The state’s Department of Agriculture also said Tuesday it was conducting the criminal probe with the help of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. A department spokesman says they are working to determine whether the deaths were intentional.

All the dead horses were from the Venezuelan-owned team Lechuza Polo, a favorite to win the title at what’s described as the World Series of this sport.

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