Del Mar opened its 80th racing season Wednesday following a tumultuous spring in which 30 horses died at Santa Anita.
Two horses have died at Del Mar racetrack after colliding during a training session Thursday morning, Del Mar officials confirmed.
According to a statement from the track, the accident occurred around 6:30 a.m. PT when Charge a Bunch, an unraced 2-year-old colt trained by Carla Gaines, threw rider Giovanni Franco and turned sharply the wrong way down the track. Charge a Bunch collided with Carson Valley, a three-year-old unraced gelding trained by Bob Baffert, while the horse was completing a four-furlong workout.
Carson Valley's rider, Assael Espinoza, was taken to the hospital for evaluation after complaining of lower back pain.
"This was a very unfortunate accident and it is a shock to everyone in the barn,” Bob Baffert said in Del Mar’s statement. "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 spring season in which 30 horses died at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was banned as a result.
Del Mar officials previously said numerous changes and safety reforms at the track would be implemented in light of the events at Santa Anita.