09/05/2003 11:00PM

No contest plea in mare's death


Liobijildo Guzman Herrera, 22, and Noel Guido-Silva, 21, pleaded no contest to felony animal cruelty charges last week in Sonoma, Calif., County Superior Court. The charges stem from the death of a 24-year-old Thoroughbred mare, Gentle Song, who was run down in her pasture on April 26.

The two admitted to using a truck and a car to chase down the mare in Kenwood, near Santa Rosa. They face three-year prison sentences and possible deportation to their native Mexico after their release because they are in the country illegally.

Herrera chased the mare in a Chevrolet Blazer, eventually striking her from behind, according to testimony at a July preliminary hearing. The mare fell onto the Blazer, then fell off and was hit by a Toyota Supra driven by Guido-Silva.

A $20,000 reward prompted an informant to lead investigators to the damaged vehicles and two suspects in June.

Gentle Song had three victories from 27 starts and placed third in the 1982 Canadian Oaks. She produced nine winners, including the stakes-winning Conquistador Lee, from 16 foals. When she was killed, the mare was the pet of a 13-year-old girl.