08/01/2014 2:09PM

Trainers' group will recommend eliminating Del Mar turf sprints

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Del Mar might eliminate turf sprints and reduce the number of claiming races on the surface for the rest of the summer meeting after a filly was seriously injured in a turf sprint on the troubled course Thursday, according to a track official.

Track and racing officials were scheduled to meet Friday to discuss options for turf racing through the end of the current meeting Sept. 3.

Turf racing was canceled from Friday through Sunday after the filly Serious suffered sesamoid injuries in a turf sprint. Previously, four horses were euthanized as a result of injuries sustained in turf races July 17, July 25, and July 26.

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Track president Joe Harper said turf racing will not be held until Wednesday at the earliest to allow evaluation and maintenance of the course through the weekend. He said the decision was made in consultation with the California Horse Racing Board.

There is widespread concern that the turf course is too firm. The course is new, having been installed over the winter.

This is the second consecutive weekend in which turf races have been abandoned for at least one day. Turf racing was canceled last Sunday following the injuries that occurred the preceding two days. The course was then aerated and extensively watered. A similar maintenance plan is scheduled through Tuesday.

“We all still feel this is a safe course,” Harper said. “The racing-board investigators looked at it, and the jockeys like it, but it’s not forgiving to some horses.”

On Friday, Jim Cassidy, the president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers association, said he planned to attend a meeting with track and racing officials Friday and would recommend a reduction in the number of claiming races on turf and the elimination of turf sprints and turf workouts.

“I think they should scrap turf sprints,” Cassidy said.

Director of racing Tom Robbins said Friday there is likely to be an “overall reduction in turf races” through August, but he did not elaborate, pending discussions. Asked if he thought the turf course could be salvaged for the second half of the meeting, he said, “I do.”

Turf racing is a vital part of the track’s stakes schedule, with 20 of the 43 stakes run on the course. Several important turf races have yet to be run, including the $250,000 John Mabee Stakes on Aug. 10, the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 16, the $250,000 Del Mar Mile on Aug. 24, and the $300,000 Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31.

The status of two $90,000 stakes over five furlongs on turf – the Daisycutter Stakes for fillies and mares Aug. 8 and the Green Flash Handicap on Aug. 13 – was not immediately known.

Five turf races were canceled from Friday through Sunday. Four turf races were held without incident Wednesday and earlier on Thursday’s program before Serious was injured.

Serious, a 4-year-old trained by Vince Smith, was sent to a veterinarian clinic near Los Alamitos late Thursday to be evaluated. Harper said track veterinarian Dana Stead had advised that the filly be euthanized as a result of her injuries.

On Friday, several trainers questioned why Serious was allowed to start in the optional claimer. She won a $16,000 claimer for nonwinners of three at Santa Anita in May and had not raced since finishing last of eight in a starter allowance at Los Alamitos on July 3.

Harper said he remains hopeful that the issues concerning the turf course can be remedied. The track averaged slightly fewer than three turf races a day at the 2013 meeting.

“I don’t think it deserves to be abandoned,” he said.

Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for B.C.@Del Mar, just imagine when they change the poly to dirt. They'll all be coming in droves to race @BREAKDOWN DEL MAR. And to think they closed down one of the safest tracks on the West Coast HOLLYWOOD PARK for look how beautiful Del Mar is and forgot about how Del Mar has a rep for just what is happening right now BREAK DOWNS. And the safety of horse's and jock come first is just a bunch of Bullish*#. It's money before anything else.........
TomN More than 1 year ago
once again, the majority of reaction[which is a problem in itself] appears to be defensive...you don't imply because it's a "new" turf course there are challenges for some horses. And you don't point fingers on the condition of runners, or the quality, or the distances. Either the course is safe, or it isn't....step up and do the right thing fort he animals. This will turn on you real fast if you don't
Stephen Mercier More than 1 year ago
leave the grass to the Europeans and stick with plain old dirt. Problem solved
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I have yet to read of an impact-rebound test being done at Del Mar. Test it and compare the results with other turf courses that are known/considered to be safe. This thing is a death trap as it lays...
Bill More than 1 year ago
Walk up a van's ramp and ride around for awhile and you'll realize that A horse isn't vanned with a broken left front seasamoid? Since your gone? Serious, a 4-year-old trained by Vince Smith, was sent to a veterinarian clinic near Los Alamitos late Thursday to be evaluated. Harper said track veterinarian Dana Stead had advised that the filly be euthanized as a result of her injuries.
Will LaTulippe More than 1 year ago
I still want a explanation as to why the widening of the turf course called for replacing ALL of the previous sod. It's just screw-up after screw-up in CA, huh?
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
yeah, nothing but screw ups. but I guess that is why ca. has dominated the 2 yr. old and 3 yr.old divisions 2 of the last 3 years, right? btw, speaking of screw ups, how'd new York don again planning that Belmont day fiasco?
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Who more important the trainers or the gambler? How bout dont run any turf racing with claimers because that is the real issue. Sore horses trainers running in claiming races.
Steve Schnell More than 1 year ago
It's named Rick's Natural Star
thomas j More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's not the turf course causing these break downs but rather weak horses.
Rusty Sanders More than 1 year ago
Yeah my horse was weak alright went seven furlongs on that 405 in 122 the things a rock period !!
Steve Schnell More than 1 year ago
You chose to run the horse on this course... There are turf courses all over the country.
Paul McAleavey More than 1 year ago
Well there haven't been any grass races at 7 f and 122 would be basically a msw time at most decent tracks. 6 f races typically have msw winners run 108-109 even in ny. Faster on the west coast or at least on pace to be for 2 year olds and certainly much faster for older horses. I saw one mile races for babies. Someone chimed in on your horses name with a retired horse and you haven't responded. But there were no 7 f races on turf.
Steve Schnell More than 1 year ago
Glad you picked up on that horses name! I was wondering how long that would take! :)
BWscouting More than 1 year ago
On Friday, several trainers questioned why Serious was allowed to start in the optional claimer. She won a $16,000 claimer for nonwinners of three at Santa Anita in May and had not raced since finishing last of eight in a starter allowance at Los Alamitos on July 3. This is the 'overlooked' issue. EASY TO SAY 'turf too hard'..reality is Experts(Jocks/Trainers/Owners) say Turf is FINE. Too many 'Trainers' enter these Overmatched & likely Unfit horses into races they have no business in. Even as a mediocre Handicapper I seen Serious pre-race as: "1-dimensional dirt sprinter taking on Turf & Better Horses & Xfast Pace Scenario & with NO RECENT races/works" I would be interested in what the horses 'connections' thought when entering this race.. (certainly hope the Filly recovers)
Greg Michaels More than 1 year ago
She was put down that afternoon.
David Merz More than 1 year ago
No she wasn't. The vet recommended euthanization, but the connections opted for treatment anyway.