With Del Mar’s Fall “Bing Meet” coming to a close this past Sunday, here is what we know: At least five horses (see below) were killed while racing (no training deaths were reported) during this relatively short 15-day meet. That’s five dead in 15 days. But – and this is a big but – there was a marked difference in the way the stewards wrote their minutes this time around. Instead of the catchall “Deceased” – which heretofore had included horses killed off-site while being prepped for upcoming Del Mar races – they went with “Fatalities at [italics added] Del Mar,” an obviously more restrictive categorization. (This change, incidentally, happened midstream: In the first set of minutes – 11/13 – “Deceased” was used and edited afterward.) There can be but one explanation for this decidedly cunning move: bad press in the wake of this past summer’s carnage. Apparently, they were counting on no one noticing.
Whatever the actual count, it is an indisputable fact that multiple horses were killed at Del Mar this Fall. Now, juxtapose that against this from the Del Mar site:
Highlighted by a series of terrific stakes races to finish out its final weekend, Del Mar brought its third fall racing season to a sparkling close Sunday with strong wagering numbers rung up and a solid place on the racing calendar etched in. “A very solid meet,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president and general manager Joe Harper. “I think this meet has set us up nicely for the Breeders’ Cup in 2017. We’re going to be ready for it and it’s going to be very good at Del Mar.”
With a pile (a modest one, sure, but a pile nonetheless) of dead “athletes” behind them, they use words like “terrific,” “sparkling,” “very good.” Vile. Again.
The dead we know about:
Lyrical Passage, November 20, Del Mar 5
Trixie Topper, November 27, Del Mar 1
Trump Diesel, November 27, Del Mar 5
Flaming Vixen, December 1, Del Mar 5
Adair, December 3, Del Mar 1