Del Mar to move 2 turf races after horse deaths

A general view of the horses breaking at the gate during Opening Day at Del Mar, on July 19, 2006.
A general view of the horses breaking at the gate during Opening Day at Del Mar, on July 19, 2006.
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Del Mar will shift two turf races scheduled for Sunday to the dirt and make other adjustments after the deaths of some horses, including two Saturday, since the summer meet began nearly two weeks ago.

Four of the deaths have occurred on the seaside track's new turf course. As a precaution, the track said Saturday that it would move up scheduled maintenance on the turf course to that night instead of Sunday night as had been planned. The turf will be aerated and watered starting on Sunday.

Two horses were euthanized Saturday as the result of catastrophic injuries sustained in separate turf races.

Lil Swiss Echo hurt her right foreleg in the stretch of the fifth race, unseating apprentice jockey Drayden Van Dyke. He was taken to a hospital for an exam and later released. In the ninth race, J Kat was pulled up on the far turn by jockey Corey Nakatani with severe injuries to his left foreleg.

In a statement, the track said it is "deeply saddened by the loss of thoroughbred lives" since the meet began on July 16. It said that track officials continue to have the "utmost confidence" in the turf course, but they want to err on the side of caution by making adjustments.

Track crews will work on the turf through Tuesday. After Sunday's card, racing will resume Wednesday.

On Friday, the $100,000 Cougar II Handicap was marred by a catastrophic injury to Longview Drive, who sustained major injuries to his left front leg and was euthanized. Jockey William Antongeorgi had pulled up the horse early in the race.

Two spills also occurred Friday. Jockey Elvis Trujillo was unseated when his mount Delaney's Joy clipped heels on the far turn and stumbled badly in the first race. Trujillo was unhurt and the horse appeared to be uninjured.

In the sixth race on the turf, Yes She's Unusual unseated jockey Brice Blanc on the far turn when she stumbled after sustaining a serious injury. The horse was euthanized. Jockeys Van Dyke and Tyler Baze, aboard horses trailing Yes She's Unusual, were unseated while trying to avoid the mishap.