Two horses suffered fatal injuries Thursday morning after colliding in an accident during training hours at Del Mar racetrack in California, a spokesman for the track confirmed on Thursday.
The accident occurred around 6:30 a.m. P.T. when Charge a Bunch, an unraced 2-year-old colt trained by Carla Gaines, threw rider Giovanni Franco and ran the wrong way down the track.
Charge a Bunch then collided with Carson Valley, an unraced 3-year-old gelding trained by Bob Baffert who was working in the opposite direction.
Del Mar told ESPN earlier Thursday that the horses were euthanized shortly after the accident but later clarified that the horses were killed in the collision.
Carson Valley’s rider, Assael Espinoza, was taken to the hospital complaining of lower back pain. According to the Daily Racing Form, Franco did not require medical attention.
“This was a very unfortunate accident and it is a shock to everyone in the barn,” Baffert said in a news release. “We work every day to take the best care of our horses but sometimes freak accidents occur that are beyond anyone’s ability to control. This is one of those times and we’re deeply saddened for the horses and everyone involved.”
Del Mar opened its 80th racing season Wednesday following a tumultuous spring in which 30 horses died at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. The industry has been under intense scrutiny that has caused a ripple effect at tracks across the country, sparking new safety reforms at several tracks, including Del Mar.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who had four horses euthanized at Santa Anita this spring, has also been banned from a number of tracks, including Del Mar. Hollendorfer has filed a legal complaint against Del Mar seeking a restraining order to run his horses at the track.