Two horses that died when they collided while training at the Del Mar Racetrack last summer were processed into animal by-products instead of being taken to a UC Davis Animal Health and Safety Laboratory per protocol, it was reported Friday.
The two horses killed in the July 18 head-on collision — Charge A Bunch and Carson Valley — were taken to a rendering plant near the El Sobrante Landfill in Corona, where they were processed into products such as fertilizer and bone meal before their remains were sent to the landfill, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I got a call first thing in the morning after the accident saying the horses never arrived,” Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, told the newspaper.
Del Mar track officials got a call from the California Horse Racing Board because, by statute, it is the track’s responsibility to get the bodies to the testing laboratory, according to The Times, which reported that an investigation found that Stiles Animal Removal was at fault for the mistake.
“The owner of Stiles admitted that he forgot to inform the new driver of this requirement (to take the remains to the state lab),” according to a CHRB investigators report.
Mike Martin, spokesman for the CHRB, told the newspaper he contacted Mac McBride, Del Mar’s media director, one day after the mistake was discovered and they spoke the day after that.
“Mac said that Del Mar would make an announcement as soon as a CHRB investigation was complete,” Marten told the newspaper.
Del Mar has made no public statement since the investigation concluded, but a statement by Chief Operating Officer Josh Rubinstein was given to The Times last week.
“As soon as the CHRB made us aware of the error by the contractor responsible for transport to the necropsy facility, Del Mar responded immediately and appropriately, including terminating that vendor,” Rubinstein said. “Although the error was made by a vendor and not Del Mar personnel, it is our responsibility to see that the proper protocols are followed. We regret the error and have made changes to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”