The start of the summer racing season at the Del Mar Racetrack will be pushed back one week, beginning next year, in an effort to reduce the number of horse fatalities, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club announced Thursday.
The decision comes in the wake of 16 deaths of horses during this year’s meet, a total that prompted several animal rights advocates to attend a meeting of the California Horse Racing Board at the track.
Ten of the horses died after injuries suffered in morning workouts, with the remaining six during racing, according to the DMTC.
“In an effort to provide horses additional time to acclimate themselves to new surfaces and surroundings, beginning in ’17 Del Mar will open its summer season one week later,” a statement from the club says.
Last week, the DMTC and The Jockey Club announced that they will provide additional funding to the Ken Maddy Laboratory at UC Davis to enhance the horse racing agency’s medication testing program. The amount wasn’t specified.