01/11/2013 2:20PM

CHRB report: Herrera died despite fast medical intervention


Despite a rapid response, paramedics from the Alameda County Fair and the county’s fire department were unable to save the life of jockey Jorge Herrera after he suffered head injuries in a spill at Pleasanton last July, the California Horse Racing Board announced in a report on Thursday.

Herrera fell from his mount, Morito, in the eighth race on July 5, 2012, after the horse clipped heels with a rival on the backstretch of a five-furlong race. According to a coroner’s report, Herrera died of blunt head trauma. The racing board’s investigation concluded that Herrera was struck by his mount, or a trailing horse.

The incident was investigated by the racing board, Alameda County Sherriff deputies, the county coroner and the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health.

The report stated that a team of two paramedics based at the racetrack arrived at the scene of the accident within a minute of the start of the race. The paramedics were unable to “establish a good airway” to facilitate Herrera’s breathing. Paramedics with the county fire department arrived at the scene approximately three minutes after the start of the race, having been based at a station adjacent to the racetrack.

The paramedics and track physician Dr. Peter Wong began life support procedures, including CPR, before Herrera was placed in an ambulance to be transported to a hospital in Castro Valley. The report states that Herrera died of his injuries at the hospital.

The report refuted allegations that paramedics were slow to respond to Herrera on the racetrack.

The racing board’s report was compiled by Dan Dailey, the supervising special investigator for Northern California, and sent to racing board executive director Kirk Breed.

Herrera, 33, was a native of Jalisco, Mexico. He won his first race at Los Alamitos in 2004, and rode primarily in California, Oregon and Washington. He won 64 races from 1,104 mounts, including wins aboard Arabians. He won 55 races on Thoroughbreds.