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Del Mar works to improve turf course after four horse deaths

Horse Racing
Del Mar is scrambling to deal with safety issues on its new turf course after four horse deaths

Del Mar put in a new, wider turf course this year to help the track's chances of attracting a Breeders' Cup bid. It worked. The track was awarded the Breeders' Cup for 2017.

But now the track is scrambling to deal with safety issues after the deaths of four horses on the turf course in the first two weeks of its summer meeting, including three in the last 48 hours euthanized because of injuries. 

On Saturday, Del Mar President Joe Harper announced that two races scheduled on the turf course for Sunday have been switched to the Polytrack, and that work will begin immediately in an attempt to improve conditions after consulting with representatives from trainers, owners and jockeys.

Scheduled maintenance on the turf course was moved up from Sunday to Saturday night, and the entire course will be aerated and watered starting Sunday.

Trainer John Sadler said he has a meeting scheduled for Sunday with track officials to discuss concerns. One problem appears to be the firmness of the course.

"They've had some issues, clearly," Sadler said. "I don't have the answers."

Top races for 3-year-olds are scheduled on the turf course in the coming weeks, not to mention the Grade II Del Mar Mile on Aug. 24, which was expected to attract top turf miler Obviously.

Twitter: @LATSondheimer

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