By Doug Porter
There’s disagreement over how many horses have died at the Del Mar races this year. Animal rights advocates say it’s 18. The Union-Tribune says 16. The Daily Racing Form says 14. Some of the variance, no doubt, comes from the time frame from when it was reported.
Regardless of the final number–and it’s likely to increase by the time the summer season ends on Labor Day–more horses have died this year than last. Betting is down, and purses for the last two weeks of the season have been reduced by another 5% on top of the across the board 10% reduction from 2015.
Saturday, August 20th, was supposed to be the biggest day of the racing season at Del Mar, the $1 million Pacific Classic, including big name horses Beholder, California Chrome, and Dortmund. It started with another death.