When you work around race horses there is inevitably a certain amount of danger. It can’t be helped when you are dealing with 1200 animals that have a mind of their own. Even the best behaved and best trained animals can have their moments and if you are a 150 pound human that happens to get in the way, you can get hurt – or even killed.Sadly, that happened at the end of the Canterbury Park meet this summer. On September 12, a horse owned and trained by Mohammed El Deeb, reared in his saddling enclosure, slamming a groom into the wall. According to witnesses, the groom suffered severe head trauma and had to be transported to the hospital, marring the last weekend of a very successful race meet.
That groom, Jorge Ortega, finally succumbed to his injuries on Monday, October 3, at Hennepin County Medical Center. He was 56. Below is the complete text of a press release issued by Canterbury Park. Please take specific note of the memorial fund set up for his family. Ortega left behind a wife and daughter and will need all the help they can get.
Canterbury Press Release
For Immediate Release:Thursday, October 3, 2013
Contact: Jeff Maday
Media Relations Manager
Media Relations Manager
Shakopee, MN -- Injuries related to an accident during pre-race saddling of a horse Sept. 12 at Canterbury Park are understood to have led to the death of Jorge Ortega at Hennepin County Medical Center on Monday. Ortega, 56, was handling Demidoffs Prospect, trained and owned by Mohamed El Deeb, when the horse reared, pushing Ortega into a wall. Ortega of Laredo, Texas, was licensed by the Minnesota Racing Commission as a groom. He is survived by a wife and daughter.“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Ortega’s family and friends during this time of mourning,” Canterbury Park CEO Randy Sampson said. “This was a tragic accident. Each summer trainers employ many dedicated workers in the stable area, and they all join our employees to become members of the extended Canterbury family. So we all feel the pain of this loss.”
A fund has been established by the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Canterbury Park to assist the family.“Our role as an organization is to help horsemen in times of need,” Minnesota HBPA president Tom Metzen said.
Contributions can be made to Memorial Fund for Jorge Garcia Ortega through Voyager Bank, 500 Marschall Road, Shakopee, MN 55379.