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Del Mar's new turf track proves deadly

Aerial view of Del Mar Racetrack
Aerial view of Del Mar Racetrack
Wikicommons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

Officials at Del Mar racetrack have decided to shift two turf races scheduled for today from turf to dirt following the deaths of four horses while running on the new turf course, including two that had to be put down yesterday after sustaining severe injuries in several different races.

Del Mar racetrack, is located about 20 miles north of San Diego, CA, and is leased by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club from the state. It has a capacity of 44,000.

The tragic turn of events began during the 1st race Friday when Jockey Elvis Trujillo was thrown from his saddle after his mount Delaney's Joy clipped heels on the far turn and stumbled badly in the first race. Trujillo was unhurt and the horse appeared to be uninjured. Jockey Brice Blanc was also thrown when Yes She's Unusual stumbled on the far turn during the 6th race after sustaining a serious injury. Veterinarians were forced to put her down. Meanwhile Jockeys Van Dyke and Tyler Baze, ended up being unseated d while trying to avoid a collision with Yes She’s Unusual.

Then in the 9th race, Corey Nakatani was forced to pull up his mount J. Kay after the horse suffered severe damage to his left foreleg. This was followed by the death of Longview Drive, who sustained damage to his left front leg during the $100,000 Cougar II Handicap. Jockey William Antongeorgi had pulled up the horse early in the race.

Although management stated that they were ''deeply saddened by the loss of thoroughbred lives'' since the meet began on July 16, they expressed the that they still maintained the ''utmost confidence'' in the turf course, but wanted to “err on the side of caution” by making adjustments by having track crews work on the turf course this week. The track will remain closed following today’s card until Wednesday.