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DEL MAR, CA – The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) will continue its enhanced safety measures for its horses and riders, while now also implementing a new set of protocols and procedures to ensure human safety, as its seaside Thoroughbred headquarters prepares to celebrate its 81st season of racing.
The horse/rider initiatives amplify the effective safety and welfare measures that Del Mar introduced over the last several seasons of racing and which have led to it being recognized as one the safest racetracks in the U.S. for both 2018 and 2019, according to The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database, which ranks Del Mar as among the safest major racetracks in the country with a rate of 0.79 fatal injuries per 1,000 starts in 2018 and 0.62 in 2019. The national average for track’s reporting was 1.68.
Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the track also will take the unprecedented step of racing without fans in attendance in 2020 and with an extensive series of health and safety measures in place for all mandatory personnel.
“We’re all about safety here,” said DMTC’s CEO Joe Harper. “Safety and health will be our focus for the people involved with putting on this year’s extraordinary race meet, but we’ll also be continuing with our safety reforms for the wellbeing of our riders and horses.”
Working with health and medical experts in the county and state, Del Mar has put together a large-scale human safety program that will ensure those onsite at the 340-acre Del Mar Racetrack will have the most secure working environment possible during the 28-day session that runs from July 10 to September 7.
Among the daily measures that will be implemented throughout the 2020 summer race meeting at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club:
Additionally, access to the Del Mar stable area will be limited to those licensed individuals who work directly with the horses. Stable area personnel will be subject to the same mask/wristbands/distance rules all frontside individuals will work under.
As for the track’s extensive horse/rider safety program, it again will follow its well-considered and newly bolstered set of racing safety protocols that have been a model for best practices adopted by other tracks across the nation. Among racing steps that will be in place for the upcoming Thoroughbred stand are:
In addition, the conditions of all horses stabled at Del Mar (approximately 1,800) once more will be thoroughly analyzed by Del Mar’s racing department regularly with specific conditions (e.g., gaps in racing or workout activity) flagged for additional scrutiny.
Over the past three years, Del Mar made a series of changes and adjustments aimed at horse and rider safety. Those measures will carry forward to this summer and include:
In addition, in 2019 DMTC joined the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an association of major U.S. racing organizations committed to meaningful reforms and accountability across U.S. racing jurisdictions. Del Mar remains fully accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance for its upcoming season, having passed a complete review of equine and track safety protocols, injury reporting and prevention, medication testing, jockey health and safety best practices, wagering integrity and equine aftercare policies at its most recent testing.
Del Mar will race on a Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule throughout the summer, finishing its meet with a traditional closing day card on Labor Day Monday. First post daily will be 2 p.m.
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