A jockey has died after falling from his horse during a race at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.
Authorities say Jorge Herrera, 33, fell during the eighth race Thursday afternoon and may have been hit by his own or another horse. He suffered head injuries and died at a hospital, The Associated Press reported.
Video of the race and witnesses indicate that Herrera was thrown after his 4-year-old horse, Morito, clipped Tribal Sun, another 4-year-old.
Herrera, from Jalisco, Mexico, is the first jockey to die at the Alameda County Fairgrounds since 1975.
The website Bloodhorse.com reported race officials were still reviewing the incident to determine exactly what Herrera struck when he fell.
"This was a horrible situation of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," fair-circuit racing secretary and jockey agent Tom Doutrich told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It’s a horrible story. We do everything we can to try to prevent injuries, but it’s a very risky sport."
Herrera had ridden sparingly in the past three years, going winless in 65 races mostly in Oregon and Washington. He broke into US racing in 2004 and rode 31 winners in 301 races in 2005.
According to the Equibase.com chart for the race, “Morito broke alertly then was outsprinted, raced between Devil On The Move and Tribal Sun leaving the half mile pole, came out slightly and clipped heels with Tribal Sun, stumbled badly and lost his rider. The stewards conducted an inquiry into the accident but did not assign blame and let the results stand.”
According to Equibase.com, Herrera had 55 career wins and nearly $700,000 in career winnings. He also rode Nubian Princess to an eighth-place finish in Thursday’s sixth race at Pleasanton.