Anyone who knows me knows how much I love horses, and I love being at Del Mar during our summer meet. But it's been a very difficult week to be at the track, with 6 deaths since Thursday's morning's tragic loss of Dance With Fate. Yesterday I wrote about the two horses that had to be euthanized from Friday's card, and Saturday brought two more, prompting track officials to move Sunday's turf races to the main track. (Four of the injuries came on Del Mar's new turf)
Then I hear this morning that a 2 year old colt from Peter Miller's stable had to be put down after breaking down on the main track during morning workouts. It's beyond anything I've ever seen, so many tragedies in the first two weeks of this meet. From what I hear, the new surfaces present a couple of very different conditions with the turf being too firm and the poly being stiff and slippery in the early morning due to the heavy marine layer we get in Southern CA. If I were a trainer with a horse preparing to run at Del Mar, I honestly don't know what I would do. There seems to be far more risk than you generally expect. Riding is dangerous, but horse racing can be brutal. It's a grueling sport that requires more from its participants than most people realize.
With these developments, it's hard to write about the positive side. But there were plenty of "ups". Long shot Mr. Sexy upset the field with his win in the 2nd race, and Fed Biz set a track record and won the $200,000 San Diego Handicap for trainer Bob Baffert with jockey Martin Garcia aboard. Some pre-race photos are posted athttp://www.forestbirdphotos.com/delmar07262014
I'm taking the day to get caught up on some things at home, but I'll be back out to the track next week and hope for incident-free days.