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In what is called the worst accident ever at the Del Mar Racetrack, five horses and their jockeys went down in a spill Monday. Sadly, three of the horses were euthanized.
Veterinarian Dr. Vince Baker has been around race tracks most of his life and has been treating horses for the last 17 years. He was upset when five horses and their jockeys collided during a race at the Del Mar Racetrack.
After the spill, three of the horses had to be euthanized. Baker did not make the call but he has done it many times.
“I’ve been on the track for 17 years. If I have to do one, it still bothers me immensely. I don’t think there’s a soul who would say otherwise,” Baker told 10News.
Baker said some horses are put to sleep for the animal’s sake — their fragile legs will not recover from certain injuries. It is impossible to wrap them up, give them pain killers and let time take over.
“You can’t tell a horse to have a cast and lie down for three months,” Baker said. “We don’t have to let an animal suffer through that. Sometimes the most humane thing to do is to euthanize them.”
The process is done with a simple shot.
“They actually go to sleep and their body systems shut down. Baker said the process is “painless and quick.”
Baker said when an animal does go down, the horse’s success on the track and its value really does not affect the ultimate decision.
“It’s a spur of the moment (decision). You have to make those decisions,” Baker said.
Two of the jockeys involved in Monday’s spill were hurt badly. Jose Silva and Anthony Lovato are still hospitalized with vertebrae fractures. They are expected to make complete recoveries.
The two horses that survived the accident — The Station and Kiss an Angel — were reported in good shape by their trainers.