Two Riders Injured, Two Horses Die In Turf Paradise Race – Horse Racing News


Turf Paradise racetrack in Phoenix, Ariz.

The final race of the day at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz., was cancelled on Wednesday after an incident in the seventh race that left two horses dead and two jockeys injured.

Mystical Image, with Leslie Mawing aboard, suffered a catastrophic injury and fell near the quarter pole, according to the Equibase chart. Starzan, with Alex Cruz riding, fell over Mystical Image and several other horses had to check or alter course to avoid the carnage.

Mystical Image and Starzan both were euthanized.

Turf Paradise general manager Vincent Francia said Mawing and Cruz were both conscious and alert. Mawing, he said, complained of elbow and shoulder pain, while Cruz suffered a broken collarbone and several broken ribs.

The accident occurred one day after an article in the Paulick Report by Natalie Voss indicated pre-race veterinary examinations were not taking place consistently because regulators have been unable to hire adequate staffing. Francia did not know whether horses that raced on Wednesday were examined pre-race by the regulatory vet.

Turf Paradise in January was cited by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority for non-compliance on a number of rules relating to safety. Track management on Feb. 24 signed an agreement with HISA  stating how they would move toward compliance.

Mystical Image, a 9-year-old gelding owned and trained by Valentin Garcia, was making his third start after a nearly two-year layoff and was dropping in claiming price from $12,500 to $4,000. He finished last in both prior races on Jan. 18 and Feb. 13 and was beaten 25 3/4 lengths Feb. 13. He had no recorded workouts since that race, according to Equibase.

Mawing picked up the mount on Mystical Image from Alex Anaya, who rode the gelding in his last two starts and was originally named to ride. According to the chart, Mystical Image was chasing the leader while in second when he suffered the fatal injury.

Mawing, who has been riding since 1994 and has 2,843 career wins, is currently seventh in the Turf Paradise jockey standings. Cruz, who began riding in 2013, is second in the standings, with 43 wins from 280 mounts. He has ridden 751 career winners.

Starzan, a 6-year-old, was making his 40th career start. Owned by David Gary Wieber, he was trained by Robert Baze.

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