SAN DIEGO — The 2023 Del Mar horse racing season recorded its first fatality on Friday after a 5-year-old mare suffered an injury during a training session, state horse racing officials confirmed.
Nevisian Sunrise, who finished third in last Saturday’s Osunitas Stakes race, was exercising at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club when she lost her rider and ran off, later crashing into a fence post.
In the collision, the mare sustained severe injuries that veterinarians believed ultimately required euthanasia, Club spokesperson Mac McBride said in a statement to FOX 5 on Saturday.
“(It was) a freak accident,” McBride said. “Attending veterinarians felt there was no choice but to humanely euthanize her.”
As with all fatalities relating to horse racing, a spokesperson for the California Horse Racing Board said a postmortem investigation into the incident will be taking place over the coming weeks.
A team of specialists, trainers and veterinarians at the University of California, Davis will be handling the investigation, the spokesperson confirmed.
Nevisian Sunrise had 10 career races and two first-place finishes, according to the industry website Equibase. Her third-place finish in the Osunitas Stakes race on July 22 was her only race of 2023. It was also her only race at the Del Mar track.
She was owned by Alpha Delta Stables. As of her last start, she was jockeyed by Juan Hernandez and trained by Michael McCarthy.
Nevisian Sunrise’s death marks the first fatality of this year’s summer meet at the Del Mar track. According to the California Horse Racing Board‘s fatality database, seven horses died during the 2022 season — four of which were during racing or training activities.
The Del Mar Racing season began on July 21 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 10.