Del Mar Adopting Enhanced Safety Protocols For Upcoming Summer Meet

POSTED ON  |  01-05-2019

Del Mar Racing Track
Joe Harper, chief executive officer of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., issued a statement on Tuesday concerning new safety protocols being put in place for the 80th summer season of horse racing that begins July 17 at the seaside track.

The protocols follow the lead of many of the changes proposed in March by The Stronach Group, owner of Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.,  and supported by the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Horse Racing Board. The changes were made after a spike in equine fatalities during racing or training at Santa Anita from the Dec. 26, 2018, opening day until early March. The fatalities – sustained during an unusually cold and wet winter for Southern California – put horse racing under a media microscope, leading to calls by some politicians and animal rights advocates to close the track and the opening of an investigation into the deaths by the Los Angeles district attorney. One fatality has been reported at Santa Anita during the six weeks since the new safety and welfare protocols went into effect more than six weeks ago.

Harper's statement, issued as “A Letter to Our Patrons,” is not specific about medication changes but said the track will be instituting International Federation of Horseracing Authorities standards, which prohibit race-day medication. Del Mar recently joined with other major North American tracks calling for a partial ban of race-day administration of Lasix, or furosemide, to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, or internal bleeding. That ban would start with 2-year-olds of 2020 and extend to stakes races in 2021.

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