A seventh horse has died since the Del Mar Races started a week and a half ago, according to the Daily Racing Form (DRF) website.
There have been conflicting reports about how many racehorses have died so far this season. But Jay Privman with DRF said one horse died in a race on Opening Day July 17, one in a training accident Thursday, two in races Friday, two in races Saturday and one after a workout Sunday.
An additional horse died of a heart attack several days before the races began, according to Privman.
The rash of deaths has raised questions about Del Mar's new turf track. Workers started expanding the old track in September in hopes of attracting bigger races to Del Mar. Officials said it could take weeks to determine if the turf was a factor in the deaths.
Each horse goes through four veterinarian inspections before each race, according to C. P. McBride with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
“If they see anything that does not look right, if the horse has got a little bit of a nod off, a little bit of a limp, that horse does not race that afternoon,” McBride said.
Two jockeys have been injured in fatal horse accidents this season. On Friday, “Yes She’s Unusual” fell and broke her leg, sending jockey Brice Blanc to the hospital. Track officials decided to euthanize the 4-year-old filly.
On Saturday, a 5-year-old mare named “Lil Swiss Echo” was put to sleep after breaking her leg in a race. Her rider Drayden Van Dyke was trampled by two other horses, but track officials said the jockey was fine and able to race the following afternoon.
Last year, nine or 10 horses were euthanized with leg injuries over the entire season, which lasts from mid-July to early September.
Check back for updates on this developing story.