National Steeplechase Association Director of Racing Bill Gallo says the injuries occurred separately in each of the first three races during last weekend’s 32nd-annual event.
Two of the horses sustained injuries while on flat ground, while the third was injured during a hurdle.
Despite the three deaths, Gallo says fatalities among steeplechase horses are uncommon.
Non-wagering steeplechase and flat course races have been part of the open house festivities for years. The New York Racing Association operates the track, along with Aqueduct and Belmont.
Saratoga holds steeplechase races on Thursdays during its annual summer meet.
The track’s 144th thoroughbred racing season opens Friday.
Opening day attracts record crowd at Del Mar
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Midnight Crooner won the opening division by a neck over Chips All In. Boat Trip, the 2-1 favorite, finished fifth in the seven-horse field. Midnight Crooner ran 1 mile on the Jimmy Durante turf course in 1:34.74 and paid $10.20 to win.
The 3-year-old colt earned $65,580, increasing his career earnings to $128,765 with three wins in seven starts.
“It’s crazy here,” said Baffert, who won his leading 94th stakes at Del Mar. “It’s like (Kentucky) Derby day without the Derby. It goes to show that racing is alive and well in California.”
In the second division, My Best Brother and Martin Garcia defeated Tones by a half-length. The colt trained by Julio Canani ran the distance in 1:34.39 and paid $14 to win, his third victory in six career starts. He earned $65,940 to increase his winnings to $133,090.
Holy Candy, the even-money favorite co-owned by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, was pulled up in the stretch by jockey Garrett Gomez, apparently with a non-life threatening injury to his left foreleg.
It wasn’t a good day for another Brees’ horse. Siempre Mio finished last in the eighth race. Brees’ ownership group claimed the horse from previous co-owners Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers in June.
The attendance bettered the old record of 46,588 set last year on opening day of the summer meet. It was the eighth straight year that attendance topped 40,000 on the first day.