East Bay News
New questions raised in Jockey's death
PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- Jockey Jorge Herrera, 33, died Thursday during a race at the Alameda County Fair.
The horse racing community held a memorial service for Herrera Saturday morning and new questions were raised about the response by emergency teams. On Thursday in that accident, Herrera apparently suffered some really bad head injuries and within seconds a team of emergency medical technicians got to him. However, a representative from the Jockey's Guild told ABC7 News that he believes paramedics would have been better qualified in that emergency.
The fourth race of the day was dedicated in Jorge Herrera's honor. He was killed when the horse he was riding, Morito, stumbled and he tumbled off.
The Jockeys' Guild has since raised concerns because of the type of immediate medical attention on scene. In a statement, Darrell Hair from the Jockey's Guild told ABC7 News, "The EMT's were there on the scene, but the paramedics arrived afterward and it seemed like a long time. It could have been two minutes, it could have been 10 minutes." Though, he acknowledges paramedics may not have helped much because of the severe head injuries Herrera suffered.
Race tracks are required to have EMT's follow the racers, but after Thursday's accident the Alameda County Fair race track has agreed to beef up their medical chase team. "Due to this recent tragedy we have responded by adding one additional paramedic to be on the ambulance with the EMT's," Alameda County Fair spokesperson April Mitchell said.
On Sunday morning, friends and family gathered near the horse stables for a memorial. "He was a great rider," one friend said. "He was very smiley guy, very happy."
And among those who signed pictures of Herrera for his family was the owner of Morito. He says Herrera had a special connection with Morito. "He worked this particular horse, qualified him for me, he was pretty gung-ho on this horse," horse owner Jose Godinez said.
Godinez says he's still shaken up by the loss of a friend and trusted rider. "We all know what the dangers are. We just have to make the best of it and keep going," he said.
The final report detailing exactly how he was killed has not yet been completed, but officials, Herrera's friends and family and fellow riders expect it will be ruled an accident.
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