LOS ANGELES -- Santa Anita, under intense scrutiny because of 30 deaths in the winter-spring meet, had a racing fatality on Saturday during the 17th race of the current fall meeting. A horse died on Sept. 16 while training.
Emtech was in the stretch when it appeared he broke his left front leg and crashed to the dirt. It happened in full view of the crowd on a day that was supposed to be highlighted by a major prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez stayed on the ground and a stretcher was brought for him, but he got up on his own power and was taken to the first aid center, where he was examined.
Emtech, a 3-year-old colt, was running his sixth lifetime race and fourth since being claimed by trainer Steve Knapp. He had won two of his previous races and finished second and third in other races. Saturday's race was six furlongs for allowance/optional claiming horses.
"As is protocol at Santa Anita, we will open an immediate review into what factors could have contributed to Emtech's injury," said Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinarian of the Stronach Group. "Santa Anita will work closely with the California Horse Racing Board and will continue to brief our stakeholders and all of our constituents, including the public, as more facts come in.
"Emtech will undergo a necropsy at the University of California-Davis' school of veterinary medicine, as is mandatory for all on-track accidents. The accident and the necropsy report will be a reviewed by a tea to learn what, if anything, could have been done to have prevented the accident."
It was the first thoroughbred racing fatality in Southern California since June 9, when Truffalino died at Santa Anita.
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