A third thoroughbred who was injured in racing Nov. 10 at Del Mar has died.
According to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Princess Dorian, a 5-year-old mare, was euthanized Monday morning, Nov. 18, at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall after quickly developing laminitis in both of her hind legs.
Princess Dorian suffered fractures to her left front leg. She underwent surgery that was deemed successful the following day and her owners and trainer, Andrew Lerner, were optimistic about her recovery.
On Nov. 13, Lerner posted a photo on Twitter of Princess Dorian going on a walk and said, “Post op report is positive so far and we are super grateful to all doctors and everyone for their love and support!”
But horses recovering from injuries sometimes develop weight-bearing issues such as laminitis, an inflammation of the soft tissue of the foot. The condition can arise quickly and become so painful that euthanization is the only option.
Princess Dorian was owned, in part, by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson.
Speaking on a Thoroughbred Daily Racing podcast last week, Johnson estimated that saving Princess Dorian, an $8,000 claiming horse who had earned $137,400 in her 23-race career, would cost $20,000.
“It doesn’t matter to me if she were a graded stakes winner or an $8,000 claimer. I felt like it was up to me to do what was best for her,” Johnson said in the interview.
The death of Princess Dorian adds to the deaths of two other horses from racing injuries in a six-race span Nov. 10 at Del Mar.
However, the CHRB said Monday, Nov. 18, that Princess Dorian’s death would not be counted as an official “racing” fatality because she was ultimately euthanized because of post-surgery complications.
Following Princess Dorian’s breakdown in the second race on the dirt course, Ghost Street, a 3-year-old gelding, suffered a front leg injury in the third race on the turf. Three races later, 3-year-old colt Prayer Warrior sustained fractures to a front leg on the dirt.
Before Nov. 10, Del Mar hadn’t had a horse die in racing since the 2018 fall meeting. In the four racing days since, there have been no fatalities in 34 races.
The first training fatality of the fall meeting occurred Sunday, Nov. 17, when Slewgoodtobetrue, a 3-year-old filly trained by Peter Eurton, collapsed and died in the barn area after a workout.
— Tod Leonard is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune