2 horses were killed in what officials call a freak accident at the Del Mar racetrack in California

Posted at 10:11 AM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 12:11:24-04

Two racehorses died Thursday morning in what is being called a “freak accident” while training at the Del Mar racetrack in California.

It happened after Charge A Bunch threw off rider Geovanni Franco and made a U-turn. Then, running the wrong way along the track, Charge A Bunch ran into Carson Valley.

Both steeds were killed.

Carson Valley’s rider, Assael Espinoza, was taken to the hospital for evaluation, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club officials said. Franco was not injured.

“This was a very unfortunate accident and it is a shock to everyone in the barn,” Carson Valley trainer Bob Baffert said in a 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.”

This episode follows the death of 30 horses in less than a year at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was banned from the racetrack as a result.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, responded to Thursday’s collision.

“These horses’ lives were taken from them by the racing industry,” the group’s senior vice president, Kathy Guillermo, said. “PETA requests that Del Mar and all other California racetracks release records of horses who have gotten loose on the tracks and urges the California Horse Racing Board to launch a full investigation in order to eliminate the dangers of training.

“Saying that deaths are inevitable in racing is like saying a swim team can’t compete without drowning. If racing can’t be done without horses dying, it shouldn’t be done at all,” she said in a statement.