Del Mar's Harper Issues Statement on Safety Reforms


Joe Harper | Breeders' Cup/Eclipse Sportswire

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Chief Executive Officer Joe Harper issued a statement Tuesday night in the form of “A Letter to Our Patrons” announcing safety and welfare reforms ahead of the track's 80th summer meet, which begins July 17.

His statement was as follows:

As most of you are aware, horse safety and welfare has been a topic in the news recently. As we draw closer to Del Mar's 80th summer season, we'd like to address our ongoing efforts with industry stakeholders on reforms to ensure a safe environment for racing.

Del Mar is committed to the industry's most progressive safety and welfare protocols and has taken great strides in recent years to implement a number of procedures intended to make racing at Del Mar safer including:

• Reducing race days to allow us more time to prepare our racing surfaces

• Investing $12 million in state-of-the-art racing facilities and surfaces

• Enhancing pre-race veterinarian inspections

• Adding Mick Peterson, the pre-eminent track surface analyst in the country, to our team

• Reducing the horse population in the stable area to ensure the safest possible training environment

• Adjusting morning training routines to allow for surfaces to be in optimal condition

I'm happy to report those changes contributed to a 70% reduction in catastrophic injuries. We believe there are even more opportunities for continued improvement. Therefore, we will be implementing additional enhanced procedures for the upcoming summer meet including:

• Instituting International Federation of Horseracing Authorities medication standards–the strictest in the world

• Revising training protocols including additional veterinarians to oversee workouts

• Increasing out-of-competition testing

• Enhancing stable security

• Developing a stakeholder advisory committee

We believe these enhancements will make racing at Del Mar even safer for both our equine and human athletes. Opening Day is right around the corner, and our racing team is excited to welcome you back this summer.


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