07/27/2014 12:36PM

2-year-old euthanized at Del Mar; fifth death since Friday


DEL MAR, Calif. – Chilled Mousse, an unraced 2-year-old colt, became the fifth horse to die at Del Mar since Friday when he suffered fatal injuries following a four-furlong workout on Polytrack on Sunday morning.

Chilled Mousse was timed in 50.20 seconds for what was to be his final drill for a scheduled debut on Friday, but his injuries were so grave that he had to be euthanized, according to his trainer, Peter Miller.

“You try to do everything right – work right after the break, put on a light rider - and still it happens,” Miller said Sunday morning.

The death of Chilled Mousse followed a 48-hour period in which three horses were fatally injured on turf, causing Del Mar to move its two grass races scheduled for Sunday to the main Polytrack course.

Joe Harper, the president and chief executive of Del Mar, said he thought this was the prudent move with the turf course “because of the breakdowns on it."

Two horses died in separate incidents on Saturday on the turf. One more was euthanized after a grass race on Friday. In addition, a horse was euthanized after being severely injured on the main track on Friday.

So, since Friday, five horses have died here, four in races, and one, Chilled Mousse, during training. There have been four deaths on the turf in races this season, including one opening day. Saturday was the eighth racing day of the meet.

Harper said the turf course, which was new this year and has yielded quick times, would be aerated on Monday, and that the inner turf rail would be moved out to 18 feet.

Del Mar has three grass races carded for Wednesday. A statement released by the track said it is expected that the “turf course will perform in a positive fashion” on Wednesday.

Harper came to the press box between the ninth and 10th races on Saturday to address media members. He said members of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Thoroughbred Trainers, and local jockeys were all consulted about the decision to temporarily suspend turf racing. He said the jockeys have been positive about the course. “They say it is fast, but it has bounce to it,” Harper said.

Jockey Drayden Van Dyke hit the course hard on Saturday when his mount in the fifth race, Lil Swiss Echo, suffered a gruesome breakdown to a foreleg that necessitated her being euthanized on the course just yards before the finish.

Van Dyke was taken to Scripps La Jolla Hospital to be evaluated. His agent, Sarah Wolfe, said late Saturday that he checked out fine. But Van Dyke decided not to ride on Sunday.

"He almost came back today, but we thought it was in his best interests to rest up, take another day to recoup," Wolfe said Sunday. "He's taken a couple bad spills the last two days. He'll be back Wednesday."

Later Saturday, J Kat suffered a fatal injury in the ninth race, but jockey Corey Nakatani prevented him from falling.

On Friday, Yes She’s Unusual suffered a catastrophic injury in a turf sprint, a race in which four of the 10 runners failed to finish. Brice Blanc, aboard Yes She’s Unusual, took off his mounts Saturday and Sunday after hitting the ground hard when dislodged from Yes She’s Unusual.

Van Dyke fell in that race, too – his mount being impacted by Yes She’s Unusual – but he continued to ride on Friday and on Saturday until the incident with Lil Swiss Echo.

In Friday’s featured Cougar II Handicap on Polytrack, Longview Drive severely injured sesamoids in a front leg and had to be euthanized.

The four racing-related deaths on Friday and Saturday came on the heels of the fatal injuries suffered by Blue Grass winner Dance With Fate during a training accident on Thursday that was not related to the racing surface.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen