DEL MAR, Calif. — A third training fatality occurred Monday at the Del Mar Racetrack, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Bowl of Soul, a 3-year-old filly trained by Bob Baffert, had an injury to her right hind fetlock and was euthanized, the newspaper reported, citing Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board.
The death comes nearly two weeks after two horses died after colliding during a training session at Del Mar. The accident happened near the six-furlong pole just after 6:30 a.m. on July 18, the morning after Del Mar’s opening day.
The race track began its 80th racing season July 17 in the midst of heavy criticism of the sport of horse racing from animal rights activists. A total of 30 horses died during the Dec. 26-June 23 racing season at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, prompting calls for increased safety measures and an indefinite closure of the track.
The DMTC dealt with a similarly deadly racing season in 2016, when 17 horses died during Del Mar’s racing season. After remaking its dirt track with the help of race track consultant Dennis Moore and implementing additional safety measures like adding a radiology and ultrasound facility along the track’s backstretch, only five horses died during Del Mar’s 2017 season and six during its 2018 season.
Since 2016, Del Mar has been rated one of the safest horse racing venues in the U.S., tallying only 0.79 horse deaths per 1,000 starts last year, according to the Jockey Club Equine Injury Database. According to the DMTC, the national average was 1.68 among tracks that reported their fatal injuries.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club sent the following statement to FOX 5:
“Both the California Horse Racing Board and Del Mar have confirmed the fatal injury suffered during training Monday by Bowl Of Soul, a three-year-old filly trained by Bob Baffert. In conjunction with the state of California, Del Mar has instituted reforms and implemented policies to create the safest environment possible for racing and training on its grounds. These policies have resulted in the track being recognized as among the safest in the country.”