The parents of deceased jockey J.C. Gonzalez filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that seeks unspecified damages to be paid by a trainer and several veterinarians whom they believe are responsible for their son's death.
On Sept. 9, 1999, Gonzalez was aboard the 4-year-old colt Wolfhunt at Fairplex Park when the horse broke down on the final turn. The incident unseated the 23-year-old rider, who was trampled and pronounced dead at the scene after having suffered massive head trauma.
In their suit, Gonzalez' parents, identified as Daniel and Maria Gonzalez of San Bernardino, Calif., claim Wolfhunt was given the go-ahead to run even though he had bone fractures and other medical problems.
Named in the lawsuit are trainer Sandy Shulman, private veterinarians John Araujo and Hector Prida, and state veterinarian Harvey Stein. None could be reached for comment.
"...The defendants negligently entered Wolfhunt in the race and permitted...Gonzalez to ride Wolfhunt without warning or disclosing (his) condition to (track and racing officials)," the lawsuit claims. "Had the defendants disclosed the true facts, (Gonzalez) would not have ridden Wolfhunt and would be alive today."
The lawsuit further alleges California Horse Racing Board rules were broken concerning the use and required reporting of medication given the horse.
The colt's four owners are named in the suit. Superior Court Judge Andria Richey will hear the case. No hearing dates have been set.