Del Mar News and Notes August 20, 2019

• The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has now conducted five consecutive weeks of racing without any catastrophic injuries during the live racing, and combining that with the 3 consecutive weeks at Los Alamitos, goes to show that the industry within the state has taken the right steps to curtail the string of fatalities that Santa Anita had experienced this past winter. Yes, they have still had 4 fatalities that have occurred during training in the morning, with two of them being on the “freakish” side from a head on collision, but all in all it has certainly been a step in the right direction. The latest training incident in the mornings was a pelvic injury by a 3 year old filly, who was unraced and trained by Jim Cassidy. This is the same trainer that threw Jerry Hollendorfer under the bus for not being a team player and having too

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Del Mar Horse Racing News and Notes August 13, 2019

• Four weeks are in the books for the Del Mar racing season and no on track fatalities have been recorded other than the two in training ones that were discussed last week. That’s 7 straight weeks of racing including Los Alamitos without an incident. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that trend continues. The Del Mar main track surface continues to play fair day after day with an equal amount of winners coming from on the pace as well as from off the pace. The turf course trends to the off the pace bias to a slight degree, but many front runners keep right on going when left alone on the lead. The single ticket jackpot of the pick six has been hit three times at this meet already, when it was never hit once during the long Santa Anita Winter/Spring season. The difference of course is a 20 cent

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Del Mar News and Notes for August 6, 2019

• The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has now completed three of their seven week meet and the good news is that racing has been safe and incident free. The five panel crew reviewing the entries has done a good job of removing any suspect horses from the entries and there are now six consecutive weeks of racing on the Southern California circuit without a mishap. However, there have been three fatalities in the morning training period to dampen the record. Two of them occurred in a very fluke incident when an unraced maiden got loose and then ran straight into a trio of horses and two of them died instantly. The third was a Baffert runner who sustained an injury while training and was pulled up at the 1/8th pole. Bowl of Soul, who had broken her maiden and had a second place finish in an allowance race, had sustained

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Del Mar News and Notes for July 30

• Yes, its summer time, and the ocean breezes are coming off the Pacific Ocean down at old Del Mar and keeping the temps in the mid seventies, and racing is in full swing where “the turf meets the surf”. But as Del Mar completed its second week of racing this past Sunday, this is not your normal Del Mar season. First of all, the horse population is down significantly. The eastern stables haven’t shown up and full fields with 5 or 6 horses on an also eligible list do not exist. Yes, the racing office is doing a tremendous job with the horses they have and they are still racing five days a week. But they only card 7 races on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 races on Fridays and Sundays, and 9 races for Saturday, and that’s OK. The quality is still there and the racing has been good.

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Del Mar News and Notes Week One

• Well, Del Mar survived the first week of racing at the seaside oval, but just barely. Although the racing was incident free and both surfaces played fair with plenty of top quality horses, one of the most freakish of accidents occurred when two juveniles, who were both unraced, collided on the back stretch head on and both were instantly killed on Thursday. Charge a Bunch got loose and unseated his rider, Geovanni Franco, then immediately reversed his course and headed right into a trio of horses at the six furlong pole. He hit one of Baffert’s horses, Carson Valley, head on and that was that. Jockey Asa Espinoza was up on the Baffert horse and went straight to the hospital complaining of back pain, but both riders turned out to be all right. With all the fatalities over the winter at Santa Anita, California racing just can’t catch a

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Del Mar News and Notes for July 10

• Del Mar race track, where the turf meets the surf, opens its doors next Wednesday, July 17 for their 80th summer season. They will race five days a week for 7 weeks with the meet concluding on Labor Day, September 2nd. First post will be 2 PM each racing day with the exceptions of Fridays, where first post will be 4 PM. But this won’t be like any ordinary Del Mar meet. With all of the “noise” coming out of Santa Anita this past year, there are lots of changes and adjustments all pointed to the safety of the horse and the riders. Del Mar was one of the safest tracks in the country in 2018 with a rate of 0.79 fatalities per 1000 starters. The national average is 1.68. Still, they are doing much more. They will have a five man panel reviewing all entries prior to scratch

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Santa Anita News and Notes June 25

• The calendar finally turned to June 23 and mercifully brought the Santa Anita racing season to a close this past Sunday. Going all the way back to Christmas Day in 1934, when they first opened their doors, they never had a season like this, where racing was suspended three weeks back in March due to unsafe track conditions, and then three different times they were asked to stop racing by state government officials, of which they never did. That resulted in one more death this past Saturday when a horse had to be euthanized due to a training incident which brought the total to 30 for the meet. Unfortunately that horse was trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, and because he had 4 of the 30 for the meet, the Stronach Group, which operates Santa Anita, felt they had to take some action. They promptly told the Hall of Fame trainer

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Santa Anita News and Notes June 18

• The Great Race Place survived this past week of racing without incident with regards to training/racing, despite being asked to shut down by a state senator and the Governor of California, along with the California Horse Racing Board. In response to the 29 fatalities in the last six months at Santa Anita, a five person panel was put together to review all horses in advance if they are fit to run in any upcoming races. The panel includes three stewards, one vet, and the state medical director. A total of 9 horses were scratched this past week by the panel on the suspicion that these horses weren’t physically able to perform. The panel reviews all medical and training records of every horse in the entries and if just one member deems the animal unfit, the horse is scratched. The panel will stay in place for one more week, this

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Santa Anita News and Notes June 11

• It’s Monday morning, June 10, and as I write my News and Notes for the week, I have the Santa Anita entries for this Friday and Saturday available to me from the Racing Form. However, this week I’m not even going to begin to tackle the handicapping, as three more horses died this past week at Santa Anita and the public pressure is going to be huge for them not to run the final two weeks of the meet. Yet the three deaths at the track this past week have little to do with the safety of the main track or the turf course. A heart attack with a race horse can happen anywhere, anytime, just like in a human being, and a horse taking a bad step can happen anytime, anywhere, at any track in the country. No, the damage was done back in January and February, when

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Santa Anita News and Notes June 4

• For the second time this meet, Senator Dianne Feinstein called on Santa Anita Park to take a moratorium on racing and fix their issues regarding fatalities at the track. Santa Anita went six straight weeks of racing and over 7200 horses working on the main track without incident, but then had three fatalities within a 9 day stretch to bring their total to 26 for the meet, which began way back on December 26. That was on Monday, but then they had a conference call with the Racing Board on Friday and the moratorium was never brought up. It’s clear the Senator is getting lots of pressure from the animal activist groups and is forced to respond to them in a positive manner. And of course, the Governor had to weigh in as well and told racing they had to be held accountable. Santa Anita has done just about

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