Del Mar reduces turf races for rest of its meeting

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider
Del Mar will no longer run sprint races or claiming races on turf for the remainder of this year's meet

With continuing concerns about the safety of its new turf course, Del Mar announced Friday that it will no longer run sprint races or claiming races on the turf course for the rest of its 36-day summer meeting while presenting a plan to soften the course through additional watering and aeration.

"We are doing everything within our power to ensure a safe turf course," Del Mar President Joe Harper said.

The track announced that it has suspended turf racing until Aug. 9 to allow additional maintenance of the course. All races will be run on its Polytrack.

Last weekend, three horses were euthanized in a 48-hour period after injuries on the turf course, causing the track to suspend turf racing on July 27. It resumed earlier this week until another injury Thursday.

Del Mar has hired surface expert Dr. Michael Peterson to consult on changes to the course. Additionally, pre-race inspections on all racehorses will be enhanced and the inner rail will be moved out to 24 feet to enable horses to race on a fresher surface.

James Cassidy, president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers’ association, said, “We’re overseeing this, and they’re going to do everything humanly possible to make it right, and if we’re not satisfied, you’ll hear about it.”



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