Herrera dies after spill at Pleasanton
Jockey Jorge Herrera sustained fatal head injuries in a spill in Thursday's 8TH race at Pleasanton, according to published reports. The Alameda County Fair paid tribute to the fallen rider on Friday, with a moment of silence and Pleasanton's flags flying at half-staff.
Herrera, a 33-year-old originally from Jalisco, Mexico, was aboard Morito in the Thursday nightcap. When the 9-1 chance clipped heels and stumbled in the $5,000 maiden claiming event, Herrera was unseated and thrown to the ground. At this writing, it is unclear whether Herrera died of injuries caused by the fall itself or by a blow from the hooves.
The Paulick Report obtained the following statement from the Alameda County Fair:
"As is our normal safety protocol, an ambulance was following seconds behind the race. Therefore, emergency medical personnel responded immediately.
"Mr. Herrera was transported to Eden Trauma Center in Castro Valley in very critical condition where he later passed away. We are deeply saddened by this loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Herrera, who won his first race as an apprentice in early 2005, compiled a 31-29-28 record from 301 starts that year. His success rate diminished in subsequent seasons, and he had gone winless from 12 mounts in 2012. Over his career, he won 55 Thoroughbred races, and his mounts bankrolled $679,508.
In a tragic irony, the last rider to be killed in a race at Pleasanton was Juan Gonzalez, who died on the very same date -- July 5 -- in 1975. Pleasanton holds a $50,000 stakes race in his honor, the Juan Gonzalez Memorial, which happens to be the feature on Saturday.
On the Juan Gonzalez Memorial undercard, a Quarter Horse race honors the memory of Jack Robinson. Daily Racing Form notes that Robinson also lost his life in a racing accident at the Solano County Fair in 1973.
The Alameda County Fair announced via Facebook that it will offer Saturday's 4TH race in honor of Herrera, so the card will now commemorate three fallen riders.
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