11/03/2014 8:53AM

Horse rescued after falling into pond at Los Alamitos


CYPRESS, Calif. - A 2-year-old gelding who got loose during warm-ups and fell into an infield pond on Sunday night was saved from drowning by the efforts of an outrider, a veterinarian and members of the track’s maintenance and starting gate crews.

Walk the Dog, co-owned and trained by Lin Melton, unseated his rider before the seventh race and jumped a rail into the infield. Outrider Eric Najduch ran into the infield and was trying to corral Walk the Dog when the gelding fell into a pond on the westernmost part of the infield, which is not lit at night.

Najduch jumped in the pond after Walk the Dog, grabbed the gelding’s bridle and guided him toward the side. Najduch was not able to walk the horse onto land because the pond is bordered by railroad ties stacked three to five feet high.

To remove the horse from the pond, track veterinarian Ashley Troncatty anesthetized the horse, who was then secured with ropes and lifted out of the water by a front loader, with members of the track gate and maintenance crew working to bring the horse onto land.
A few minutes later, after the anesthesia wore off, Walk the Dog was vanned a short distance to Melton’s barn.

“Ashley did a good job,” Melton said. “She saved the horse’s life. He looks like he’ll be okay.”

Troncatty was filling in as the track’s veterinarian on Sunday because Becky Fitzgerald, who normally holds the job, gave birth to a son on Sunday afternoon.