SASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- Jockey Isiah Sala died Sunday night, hours after he and
his mount went down during a race at Marquis Downs and he was trampled by another horse,
The 23-year-old native of New Jersey, the leading rider at the track, didn't regain consciousness
and had been on life support since the 4:30 p.m. accident, according to officials at the Royal
Sala was pronounced dead about six hours later.
"He landed blunt on the top of his head, so he has head trauma," said Ed Esquirol, a member of
the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. "I know they wear helmets but when
you're going 35-plus miles per hour and you're dumped off a horse. ... The doctor said they
could operate but they don't know if he would survive the operation."
Hospital staff contacted Sala's family in Philadelphia on Sunday night. His brother, Musa, is
scheduled to arrive Monday and the association has offered to pay for the trip.
Sala fell during the next-to-last race of Heritage Day, one of Marquis Downs' most prestigious
events of the season.
Sala was turning for home when his horse, Twilight Deputy, clipped heels with Kelchinko,
ridden on the outside by Rick Stevens.
Sala and his horse went down head first and a third horse, Don Q ridden by Andy Scarlett, ran
into the pileup.
"(Scarlett) could not avoid that fallen horse," track announcer Steve Tatarniek said. "It looked
like Don Q, it was ugly, stepped on (Sala)."
Scarlett walked away and the horses involved were treated for bumps and abrasions.
"It all happened so fast," said Doug King, manager of racing and wagering. "You know anytime
a rider goes down that it could be serious, but you never think or hope that it's anything like
Sala was in his first season at Marquis Downs. The track's youngest rider, he led the jockey
standings with 49 wins entering the weekend's races.
"He'd heard about Marquis Downs through some ads, wanted to better his skills and was doing
that," Tatarniek said. "He was the leading jockey. Not bad for a kid from Jersey. The kid from
Jersey -- I used to call him that. It feels weird saying that: used to."