07/23/2005 12:00AM

Apprentice Sanchez, 22, dies

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Emanuel Jose Sanchez, a 10-pound apprentice, died Saturday after showing signs of dehydration.

Emanuel Jose Sanchez, an apprentice jockey at Colonial Downs in Virginia, died Saturday morning after being admitted to the hospital on Friday night with signs of dehydration, Colonial and hospital officials said Saturday.

The 22-year-old Sanchez, a 10-pound apprentice who won his first race earlier in the Colonial Downs meet, was sent to Richmond Community Hospital after riding in the fourth race on Friday night, in which he finished fourth. The rider slipped into a coma later that night and died on Saturday.

Temperatures in the New Kent, Va., area were in the mid-90's on Friday.

John Mooney, Colonial's general manager, would not comment on the incident except to confirm that Sanchez had died. Mooney said he would not comment further until Sanchez's mother, who lives in Puerto Rico, had been located and notified. Sanchez's riding certificate lists his birthplace as Rio Piedra, Puerto Rico.

Officials at Richmond Community Hospital would not comment on the case at the request of Colonial Downs, according to a representative of the hospital. The representative said that a medical examiner is expected to begin an autopsy on Saturday afternoon.

According to Adam Campola, Colonial's clerk of scales, several riders called for medical attention for Sanchez after he entered the shower following the fourth race "because he was acting very strange." Campola said that Sanchez had been in the sweatbox earlier in the day to shed some pounds and was "a big kid." Sanchez's riding weight was 114 pounds, according to Campola.

According to Colonial's racing office, Sanchez had ridden in 14 races since the start of the Colonial meet, winning one and finishing third in another. Sanchez did not have an agent, according to the racing office. Sanchez had ridden in 10 races at Pimlico earlier this year without finishing in the money.