Thoroughbred Owner Files Suit Against NYRA

Salsa Mambo suffered catastrophic injury in 2012 inner turf race at Belmont Park.

Owner Jacob Haddad claims negligence on the part of the New York Racing Association led to the catastrophic injury of his Thoroughbred, Salsa Mambo, during a July 15, 2012  race at Belmont Park.

Haddad has filed a lawsuit against NYRA in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Queens, seeking $500,000 and other damages to be determined at trial. A NYRA representative declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, Haddad questions the actions of outriders after his horse, Salsa Mambo, stumbled badly at the start of a 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claiming race on the inner turf course at Belmont Park. Salsa Mambo, without a rider, followed the field around throughout the race.

The suit says an outrider acted irresponsibly by attempting to catch Salsa Mambo after the race concluded, causing her to dart to the outside where she jumped a bush, crashed into a rail, and stepped on at least one protrusion, likely a sprinkler head. Salsa Mambo fractured her left front leg and was euthanized.

Haddad also claims that because the outer rail of the inner turf course did not continue through the final stretch of the course, it left an area between the inner turf course and outer (Widener) course unprotected by a safety rail. The suit said this area includes protruding sprinkler heads that were accessible to racehorses traversing the inner course.

Gary Contessa, agent, purchased Salsa Mambo for $35,000 for Haddad at the 2011 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. The daughter of Include  won one of nine starts, placed second twice, and earned $42,342.

The suit was filed on Haddad's behalf by Drew Mollica.