Montego Bay, on right, ridden by jockey Drayden Van Dyke beats Jules Journey ridden by jockey Mike E. Smith in Race 4 during opening day at Del Mar racetrack 2015. Photo by Bill Reilly
Two horses died at the Del Mar race track last week, marking a low point in what has otherwise been an unprecedented year in safety at the track. Photo by Bill Reilly
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Racehorse deaths at Del Mar

DEL MAR — Two horses died at the Del Mar race track last week, marking a low point in what has otherwise been an unprecedented year in safety at the track.

The horses both died on Sunday, Nov. 10 — Ghost Street during the day’s third race, Prayer Warrior during the day’s sixth race.

According to an official statement released by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, track veterinarians and emergency personnel checked on the horses immediately after the respective incidents, before it was decided they were to be euthanized. Both horses were 3 years old.

This last season has been a controversial one in Del Mar and beyond, with animal rights activists protesting at the track over the summer to draw attention to the number of horse deaths in the industry, particularly at the track in Santa Anita — which has seen 37 horse deaths since late last year.

Before last week, no horses had died in Del Mar during racing over the course of 2019. Four died during training, two of which died in a “freak accident” over the summer.

The Del Mar racetrack has implemented a slew of safety efforts over the past couple of years, this year reducing the number of race dates, bringing more veterinarians to the track to monitor training, and restricting the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories to 48 hours before a race or workout — to name a few.

The club’s recent statement said that both horses will undergo necropsies, and that Del Mar will be working with the California Horse Racing Board to investigate the deaths.

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