Two equine fatalities after 'freak' Del Mar training collision

July 18, 2019 11:50am
A loose horse who threw its rider Thursday morning at Del Mar turned, began running the wrong way and collided with another worker, resulting in two equine fatalities, the track announced.

The incident involved a pair of un-raced horses. Carla Gaines-trained 2-year-old Charge a Bunch unseated jockey Geovanni Franco, then ran into a Bob Baffert 3-year-old named Carson Valley who had jockey Assael Espinoza in the irons, per Del Mar.

A nephew of Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza, Assael Espinoza was transported to a local hospital, while Franco was said to be injury-free.
Baffert described the collision as a "freak" accident a day after Del Mar opened its summer meet, and amid a climate for racing in southern California where protocols to prevent equine fatalities are at an all-time high.

"This was a very unfortunate accident and is a shock to everyone in the barn," Baffert told Del Mar publicity. "We work every day to take the best care of our horses, but sometimes freak accidents occur that are beyond anyone's control. This is one of those times, and we're deeply saddened for all involved."

In a statement, Gaines said the collision was of "the likes of which I have not experienced in over 30 years training racehorses...Our whole barn is still in shock and grieving the loss of the horses, and my heart goes out to both of their owners, Bob and his team. We appreciate all those that continue to support us and our industry."

The incident occurred during Del Mar's window following a break in which the track is only open to horses breezing.

The full statement from the track can be seen below:

 

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