The Derby-day festivities at Belmont Park got off to an ominous start when jockey Rajiv Maragh was injured in a bizarre spill just as it appeared he was about to win the opening race. The immediate word on Maragh was that he was taken to North Shore Hospital with unspecified injuries.
The New Jersey- and Florida-based Maragh was aboard Al Basha, who surged to the lead and suddenly ducked in, causing the rider to lose his balance and eventually his seat. It looked as if Al Basha may have kicked Maragh after the fall, and it appeared the rest of the field managed to avoid him.
Maragh lay still for several minutes before slowly rolling onto his back until paramedics finally arrived to his aid on the inner turf course. He was conscious but never sat up. After being put in a neck brace, Maragh was put on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance.
The beneficiary of the incident was Academy Royale, who won easily after the spill.