2 Horses Die at Del Mar Racetrack in a Collision During Training

DEL MAR, Calif. — Two horses were killed and a jockey was injured in a freak collision at Del Mar racetrack during a training session on the second day of the season at the Southern California site.

The accident occurred Thursday morning when Charge A Bunch, trained by Carla Gaines, threw the rider Geovanni Franco, turned sharply and collided with Carson Valley, who was trained by Bob Baffert, the Hall of Famer.

Carson Valley’s rider, Assael Espinoza, was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and Franco was not injured. Franco rode as scheduled in the day’s first race.

Baffert said that it was a freak accident beyond anyone’s control and that both horses had died on impact.

The Del Mar deaths followed 30 horse fatalities during the recently completed meet at Santa Anita Park, near Los Angeles. Those deaths led to an array of new procedures intended to improve safety.

“These horses’ lives were taken from them by the racing industry,” Kathy Guillermo, the senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement.

PETA requested that Del Mar, which is near San Diego, and all other California racetracks release records of horses that have gotten loose on the tracks and urged the California Horse Racing Board to investigate in order to eliminate the dangers of training.

“Saying that deaths are inevitable in racing is like saying a swim team can’t compete without drowning,” Guillermo’s statement read. “If racing can’t be done without horses dying, it shouldn’t be done at all.”

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