Another horse dies at Del Mar Racetrack

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DEL MAR, Calif. — A 3-year-old gelding broke down Saturday during training and had to be euthanized, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said.

Koa, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, was training on the main track Saturday morning when the incident happened, Del Mar spokesman Mac McBride confirmed to City News Service.

A complete necropsy will be performed, as is done with all horse losses in the state, he said.

Koa is at least the 10th horse to die while training or racing at Del Mar this year, including three horses injured in races on the same day on Nov. 10.

The deaths come amid heightened scrutiny placed on horse racing since 37 horses died at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia during the just-concluded racing year.

Officials with the California Horse Racing Board and Santa Anita owner The Stronach Group enacted a series of new rules and procedures, and the earlier this month the CHRB — meeting at Del Mar — recommended a series of further reforms to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

On Nov. 4, Newsom had asked the board to submit recommendations for reform within 30 days.

Racing at Del Mar was canceled Thanksgiving day due to stormy weather forecasts, but continued this weekend.

“The weatherman is making it tough, but safety always comes first,” said Tom Robbins, Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing.

Princess Dorian suffered a leg fracture at Del Mar on Nov. 10, the same day 3-year-old gelding Ghost Street and 3-year-old colt Prayer Warrior suffered catastrophic injuries at the track.

Princess Dorian was taken to the San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, which is adjacent to the San Luis Rey Downs training center. She underwent surgery the following day and her condition appeared to be improving prior to the development of laminitis, a painful inflammation of the hoof that can cause irreparable damage to a horse’s ability to walk.

“The vets said it came out of left field,” Lerner told the Daily Racing Form Monday morning. “She became very uncomfortable behind. It happened so quickly. It took everyone by surprise, owing to the way she had been doing. We had said all along that we wouldn’t let her suffer.”

A second horse died of unrelated causes Sunday morning. The 3-year-old filly Slewgoodtobetrue collapsed in Del Mar’s barn area after a workout. She had made only six career starts, and most recently raced in April.

The  deaths have heightened the scrutiny placed on horse racing since a rash of deaths at Santa Anita Park earlier this year. Officials with the California Horse Racing Board and Santa Anita owner The Stronach Group enacted a series of new rules during a racing year in which 37 horses died at Santa Anita.

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