Two horses killed at Del Mar in freak training accident

Bryce Miller, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Horse Racing

DEL MAR, Calif. -- Two horses died Thursday morning in a freak training accident at Del Mar, track officials confirmed.

Mac McBride, director of media for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, said one of the horses, Carson Valley, was an unraced 3-year-old trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. The other horse, a 2-year-old named Charge a Bunch, was trained by Carla Gaines.

Jockey Assael Espinoza -- who was riding Carson Valley -- was transported to a local hospital, Del Mar said in a statement.

"He's OK, he got lucky," said Brian Beach, Espinoza's agent. "It's just a mild sprain of the back. He wasn't riding (Thursday), so he will rest up and hopefully be able to ride this weekend."

Said Baffert: "I'm just thankful (for) Espinoza; it could have been worse. ... He went up in the air and landed on his back. He said he had a little pain."

Geovanni Franco, who was riding Charge a Bunch, was not injured, track officials said.


"We are deeply sorry for the horses and their owners, trainers, riders and grooms," Del Mar's statement said.

According to Del Mar CEO Joe Harper, Gaines' horse unseated Franco and began running the wrong way and collided with Carson Valley. The horses were killed on impact, Baffert said.

Carlsbad horse owner and handicapper Jon Lindo, who had his back turned about 100 yards away, said "it sounded like a car crash. Some people told me you could hear it back at the barns."

Said Baffert: "It happened so fast. They were working from the gate, coming around and all of a sudden, I see this horse like hang a U(-turn). The horses, they never saw each other. It was just a freaky deal.


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