Del Mar has first horse death of summer season

Tractors resurface the track an hour before the first race scheduled Friday at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Del Mar had the first horse fatality of its summer season when a 3-year-old filly suffered a catastrophic injury after completing a four-furlong work on Saturday morning.

Lovely Lilia was pulled up at the completion of the workout on the main track and vanned off. Veterinarians determined that she could not recover from the unspecified injury and was euthanized. The injury occurred shortly before 5 a.m.

Vladimir Cerin was the trainer of the Kentucky-bred filly, who had run seven races, four this year, with two wins. She had $37,551 in earnings.

The Del Mar track has been open for training the last 14 days and has conducted 1,124 workouts, including Lovely Lilia on Saturday. The track was conducting its second day of live racing on Saturday afternoon.

In emergency meeting, the California Horse Racing Board determined Los Alamitos Race Course must address its increase in horse deaths within 10 days.


Del Mar has a recent reputation of being one of the safest tracks in the United States. Last year at the summer meeting, it had no racing deaths and four in training. Two of those in training were the result of a freak accident in which two horses collided in the morning.

In the shorter fall meeting, there were three racing deaths and two in training.

On Friday, the California Horse Racing Board put Los Alamitos on a 10-day probationary period to come up with a plan after a spike in deaths at the Orange County track. There have been 20 racing and training deaths at Los Alamitos since Dec. 27, including eight since May 26.