Del Mar adds safety measures ahead of 80th racing season

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — Del Mar will introduce safety enhancements when the track north of San Diego opens its 80th summer of racing on July 17.

The track owned by Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said Tuesday it will use a five-member panel to review the medical, training and racing records of every horse entered to race, similar to what was done over the final six days of Santa Anita’s recently ended meet where 30 horses died since Dec. 26.

Del Mar is extending medication rules. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories won’t be allowed up to 48 hours before either a race or workout (previously it was 24 hours). Therapeutic usage of corticosteroids in joint treatment won’t be allowed 14 days before a race, extending the previous time period of three days.

In other changes, out-of-competition drug testing will be increased, with random testing of any horse stabled at the track, including those involved in morning workouts. Extra veterinarians will be added to observe morning training with the ability to remove horses from the track if necessary.

Exercise riders and jockeys will be prohibited from using riding crops to encourage their horses during morning workouts. Additional security will be added to ensure rules are being followed in the stable area.

The track has created a committee representing trainers, vets, jockeys, track maintenance workers and management to meet regularly to discuss safety, operations and track surface condition.

The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database recognized Del Mar as one of the safest tracks in the U.S. last year.

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