Del Mar has first horse fatality of 2020 meeting

Opening Day at the Del Mar Race Track 2020.
Del Mar opened Friday with no fans in attendance. Hours later, the track had its first fatality of the summer meeting.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Unraced filly suffers catastrophic injury following Saturday morning workout


Del Mar had its first fatality of its summer season Saturday morning, July 11, when an unraced 3-year-old filly suffered a catastrophic injury after completing a four-furlong workout.

Lovely Lilia was pulled up at the completion of the workout on the main track and vanned off. Veterinarians determined that she could not recover from the unnamed injury and was euthanized. The injury occurred shortly before 5 a.m.

Vladimir Cerin was the trainer of the Oklahoma-bred filly.

The track has been open for training at Del Mar for 14 days and conducted 1,124 workouts, including Lovely Lilia on Saturday. The track was hosting its second day of live racing Saturday afternoon.

Del Mar has a recent reputation of being one of the safest tracks in the United States. Last year, at the summer meeting, it had no racing deaths and four in training. Two of those in training were the result of a freak accident where two horses collided in the morning.

In the shorter fall meeting, there were three racing deaths and two in training.

On Friday, July 10, the California Horse Racing Board put Los Alamitos on a 10-day probationary period to come up with a plan after a spike in deaths at the Orange County track. There have been 20 racing and training deaths at Los Alamitos since Dec. 27, including eight since May 26.

John Cherwa is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune.