11/03/2014 8:53AM

Horse rescued after falling into pond at Los Alamitos

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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.

steve milgats More than 1 year ago
Looks like Ashley might have performed a Lou Gehrig / Wally Pipp feat.:)
Rosemarie Cola More than 1 year ago
scary situation that turned out fine. Kudos to all involved for getting that animal out alive.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Reminds me of when Hawthorne had an infield paddock years ago. A horse broke loose, ended up in the infield pond, swam across, got pulled out, saddled, and started the race. Needless to say, the poor guy ran up the track. I've always been told that horses are natural swimmers.
Bill Hubbell More than 1 year ago
I watched the whole episode on TwinSpires. Well, as much as I could see! I thought for sure this horse had drowned. Glad to hear the horse survived. The folks on the "backside" are special people!
DJSalsburg More than 1 year ago
Great to hear everyone is ok, nice to hear a GOOD outcome....congrats to Ashely,job well done, by everyone working together....we need to hear more of these story's.
Ffm Web More than 1 year ago
Glad to hear Walk The Dog is doing well after his adventure. Kudos to the Equine Support team and Mr. Burgart for keeping the race fans informed and handling an unusual crisis with exceptional skill. After watching Heza Dasha Fire overcome his adversity to win, I'd say it was a great night for Los Alamitos racing on many counts.
Colette Mulhall More than 1 year ago
Congratulations to everyone involved in saving this very young horse's life. Eric Najduch placed himself in danger, not knowing how the horse would react, when he jumped right in to hold the horse's head to keep him from drowning. Terrific job & great team work!!