01/30/2011 6:09PM

Trainer Blake Heap injured while working as outrider at Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Blake Heap, who works as an outrider during morning training at Santa Anita, suffered facial injuries and a broken arm in an accident during training hours early Sunday, according to friends.

Heap, 54, was taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, where he was diagnosed with a fractured bone near his left eye socket and a fractured right arm near his shoulder, according to Rich Bassett, a friend of Heap’s. Bassett owns horses in Heap’s stable.

“He’s coherent,” said Bassett, who visited the hospital on Sunday. “They won’t do anything until the swelling goes down.”

The incident occurred after Heap grabbed the reins of a horse who got loose during morning training. According to witnesses, Heap grabbed the rein of the loose horse, but the pony he was riding stumbled, unseating Heap. The pony apparently fell on Heap during the spill, according to witnesses.

Heap trains a small stable at Santa Anita. Last April, Heap won his first race as a trainer in nearly decade. During that time, he worked as an outrider and as an assistant to Wesley Ward when he has had horses in Southern California.