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Del Mar named safest racetrack in the country for third straight year

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Posted at 6:42 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 22:00:56-04

DEL MAR, CA (KGTV) -- From the starting line to the finish line, opening day to the final race of the season, the Del Mar racetrack prides itself on injury-free races. And with the Summer 2020 season having just wrapped up, the track was ranked as the safest racetrack in the country for the third straight year.

"It didn't come easily," says Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President Joe Harper. "A few years ago we just woke up to the fact that these horse injuries were climbing, and we had to figure out what was going on."

So four years ago, they decided to make some changes. All in the hopes of making the sport safer for the horses, and the jockeys. And it all started with dissecting the track.

"We found the best guy in the world, the best dirt guy there is, and it was Dennis Moore. He took the track completely apart and told us there were a few problems. We knew it would cost a lot of money, but I said spend all you want."

Joe says they also stepped up the evaluations on every racehorse. And for a summer racing season, that means close to 2,000.

"We go back through our databases, and find what this horses have been doing, where they have been, and how they have been training."

The track has also increased the number of veterinarians at the track.

"In the morning during workouts we've hired more vets to come in and watch the horses. We also have veterinarians go in and look at the horses in the stalls, and the receiving barns. There are vets everywhere."

This past season, they had to euthanize one horse injured in a race, as well as two other horses injured while training.

"What we're really looking for is zero but compared to where we were, and compared to other tracks, for the last three years we've been the safest track in North America."