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2 horses killed after collision at Del Mar

DEL MAR, Calif. — Two horses were killed in a freak collision at Del Mar during training on the second day of its season.

The accident occurred Thursday morning when Charge A Bunch, trained by Carla Gaines, threw rider Geovanni Franco, turned sharply and collided with Carson Valley, who was trained by Bob Baffert.

Carson Valley’s rider, jockey Assael Espinoza, was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and Franco was not injured. Franco rode as scheduled in the day’s first race.

Baffert said it was a freak accident beyond anyone’s control and that both horses were killed on impact.

The Del Mar deaths follow 30 horse fatalities at the recently completed Santa Anita meet. Those deaths led to an array of new procedures intended to increase safety.

“These horses’ lives were taken from them by the racing industry,” PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo said in a statement.

PETA requested that Del Mar and all other California racetracks release records of horses that have gotten loose on the tracks and urged the California Horse Racing Board to investigate 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,” Guillermo’s statement read. “If racing can’t be done without horses dying, it shouldn’t be done at all.”

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