Del Mar has first summer racing fatality since 2018

Opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack
Horses head to the starting gate for a race on opening day at Del Mar racetrack.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Mean Sophia, 3-year-old filly trained by Peter Miller, suffers fractured leg at start of seventh race


The first racing fatality at Del Mar’s summer meeting since 2018 occurred Saturday, Sept. 5, when the 3-year-old filly Mean Sophia was euthanized after sustaining a fractured leg when she stumbled coming out of the gate in the seventh race.

Track veterinarians determined the filly, trained by Peter Miller, could not be saved.

Mean Sophia was making her eighth career start. She won her debut in April 19 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., but was winless since. Purchased for $90,000 as a 2-year-old by the Sinnott Family Trust, her career earnings were $55,773.

Jockey Ricardo Gonzalez twisted his ankle when he jumped off the filly and was replaced on his last three mounts Saturday, Sept. 5. He is scheduled to ride Sunday, Sept. 6.

Del Mar had two fatalities in training incidents earlier in the meeting, the filly Lucky Lilia on July 11 and the 4-year-old gelding Irreproachable on Aug. 24. Both were euthanized after suffering unspecified injuries during morning workouts.

Del Mar did not have a fatality during a race in the 2019 summer season. There were four deaths in training, two of those coming in a freak collision. There were two racing deaths in the fall meeting last year.

In both 2018 and 2019, Del Mar was named the safest major racetrack in the country by The Jockey Club Equine Injury Database, which is based only on racing deaths, not those that occur in training.

— Bill Center is a freelance writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune.