Del Mar Once Again Shifting Races Off Turf

Del Mar Once Again Shifting Races Off Turf
Photo: Benoit Photography
Del Mar

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club announced it will be moving its turf races to the main track through the upcoming weekend  after another breakdown on the newly installed course July 31.

Serious, a 35-1 shot in the seventh racean allowance/optional claiming dash at five furlongsbroke down on the turn and was removed from the course by van with serious injuries. There was no immediate word on the condition of the 4-year-old filly trained by Vince Smith.

It was the fifth breakdown on the course, which was expanded during the offseason to accommodate larger fields, since the meet opened July 17. The earlier breakdowns, which all resulted in the horses being euthanized, led Del Mar to shift its races off the turf course July 27 for maintenance. The course was aerated and given extra water, and the temporary rail was shifted to 18 feet out to make use of fresh sod.

Del Mar installed a new turf course for the 2014 season, widening it to 80 feet and installing all new grass, a hybrid Bermuda strain invented by the golfer Greg Norman.

One horse broke down July 17 on the course and three more suffered catstrophic injuries July 25-26. Four races were conducted on the course July 30 and earlier July 31 without incident. Five races will be affected by the cancellation of turf racing this weekend.

In a statement Thursday, DMTC said it "feels deep sorrow and great concern following a further injury on our turf course."

The statement added: "We continue to be of the belief that Del Mar's turf course is safe for our horses and riders. Our crews have performed extensive maintenance measures to enhance that safety and those measuresand the course itselfmet with the approval of safety officials from the California Horse Racing Board this past Tuesday (July 29).

"Nonetheless, given this additional injury on our turf course, we now will discontinue racing on it for the remained of this week. We will continue efforts to improve the course during this down time and hope to resume racing on it in the near future.

"Further, we also will continue our communication with all our partners in the racing communitythe California Horse Racing Board, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers and the Jockey Guildin attempts to understand and solve this serious problem."

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