Animal rights activists are in mourning over the 32nd horse fatality so far this year. The latest fatality happened on Saturday, Sept. 28, during racing at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, The Associated Press reported.
During Saturday’s races, Emtech, a three-year-old colt fell during the eighth heat and broke both its front legs.
Jockey Guittierrez was catapulted out of his saddle and landed near the side rail. He was transported by ambulance, but he was unharmed.
Race veterinarians decided to euthanize the foundered horse. A green screen was placed to cover the gross sight from onlookers.
“As is protocol at Santa Anita, we will open an immediate inquiry into what factors could have contributed to Emtech’s injury,” said Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinarian for The Stronach Group, who organized the event. “Santa Anita will work closely with the California Horse Racing Board and will continue to brief our stakeholders and all of our constituents, including the public, as more facts come in. … If anything less is found which could have contributed to this incident, it will be addressed immediately,” the Stronach Group added firmly in a statement.
However, not everybody is satisfied with the self-imposed safety protocol of The Stronach Group. Earlier in June, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered in a statement that the park be closed down to await further investigation about the 30 horse deaths at that time.
“I continue to be troubled by the horse deaths at Santa Anita Park. Enough is enough. I am calling on the California Horse Racing Board to ensure that no horse races until they are examined by independent veterinarians and found fit to compete,” he said.
“As Santa Anita prepares to host the 2019 Breeders’ Cup in November, we must show the horse racing world that California puts safety first,” the statement continued.
Horse racing is a hazardous sport. Not just for horses; also for humans. Last year a jockey with career earnings in the tens of millions died when his horse collapsed during a race, Epoch Times reported.
Wealthy Jockey Dies After Horse Collapses on Race Track
The jockey, 57-year-old Jose Flores was riding a horse called Love Rules and was leading in a race at Parx Racing, on March 19, 2018. Suddenly, the horse fell, leading to horrific injuries for Flores, according to the New York Post.
Another horse came from behind and fell on top of the pair. A third horse managed to avoid falling onto the pile, but the rider of that horse was unseated, Daily Racing Form reported.
The spill caused Flores severe spine and skull injuries. He was taken to a hospital but never regained consciousness. His parents traveled from Florida to say goodbye to him while he was kept on life support. Flores died three days after the accident, according to the Daily Racing Form. The horse he was riding was euthanized.
The entire Parx Racing team is deeply saddened by the loss of Parx Hall of Fame Jockey, Jose Flores. He embodied all that is good in the world of horse racing, and will be missed immensely. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family https://t.co/yGnls7IBDB
— Parx Racing (@parxracing) March 22, 2018
Parx canceled races the day after Flores’s fall and planned a memorial service.
The last time a jockey died from injuries at a race was in October 2017, according to Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, via the Daily Racing Card. Flores is the 157th jockey to die from race injuries since the guild started keeping records, in 1940.
Epoch Times reporter Collin Fredericson contributed to this report