SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A third thoroughbred race horse has died during training at Del Mar, which opened its summer meet less than two weeks ago.
Bowl Of Soul, a 3-year-old filly trained by Bob Baffert, broke down Monday with an injury to her right hind fetlock, which is similar to an ankle, the Los Angeles Times reported. The horse was euthanized, according to Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board.
Del Mar, which was the safest among the nation's major tracks last year, had a freak accident on the morning of the second day of racing, July 18, when Charge A Bunch, trained by Carla Gaines, threw his rider and ran head first into Carson Valley, trained by Baffert. Both horses died instantly from broken necks.
There have been no fatalities in 82 races this meeting.
Unlike the first two deaths, this fatality was acknowledged only after an inquiry from the Los Angeles Times. It was confirmed by both the California Horse Racing Board and Del Mar.
"She was working well and she was coming into the turn and went to switch leads when she suffered a rare twist of a hind ankle," Baffert told The Times. "You just can't predict these things happening. You work so hard to keep them healthy. It's so tough on everybody."
Jockey Joe Talamo, her regular rider, was aboard when she suffered the injury.
"That was so sad," Talamo said. "She was working along fine and felt great the whole way around the track. Out of nowhere I felt her leg and I pulled her up as quick as I could and just held her in place so she wouldn't move."
Baffert said initially he hoped Bowl Of Soul could be saved, but the veterinarians said nothing could be done.
"We would have done whatever it took to save her," Baffert said.
In a statement, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club officials said: "Both the California Horse Racing Board and Del Mar have confirmed the fatal injury suffered during training Monday by Bowl Of Soul, a three-year-old filly trained by Bob Baffert. In conjunction with the state of California, Del Mar has instituted reforms and implemented policies to create the safest environment possible for racing and training on its grounds. These policies have resulted in the track being recognized as among the safest in the country."
PETA, in response to the latest horse death at Del Mar, said: "Del Mar needs to come clean on the deaths of horses as soon as they occur. Whistleblowers alerted PETA to the death of the 3-year-old filly Bowl of Soul. The days when victims of racing were merely statistics within the industry are over. Excuses for fatal injuries such as 'twisted ankles' and 'freak accidents' must be dropped along with the veil of secrecy. Bowl of Soul's death must be thoroughly investigated, and the results -- including medication and workout records -- must be released publicly so that bettors and others know what's what. Anything less is a cover-up and can't be tolerated."