Three Riders Hospitalized After Churchill Spill

(from Churchill Downs report)
A chain reaction spill that involved four horses during Sunday's final race at Churchill Downs sent three jockeys to Louisville hospitals for treatment and evaluation.

Four jockeys were unseated in the accident, which occurred near the top of the stretch in the 10th race, a one-mile maiden claiming event that attracted a field of 10 horses. The riders who were thrown from their horses were Rafael Bejarano, Daniel Coa, Joe Deegan and Mike Morgan.

Coa and Morgan were transported to Norton Audubon Hospital and Deegan was taken to Caritas Medical Center.

Dr. Bayard Rice, the attending physician at Churchill Downs, reported that the three riders said they were experiencing some pain after the mishap, but none of the jockeys suffered any life-threatening injuries. Coa complained of pain in his shoulder, back and thigh, Morgan of back pain, and Deegan had neck pain. Bejarano, who had ridden three winners on at Churchill Downs on Sunday and currently leads the nation in victories, left the track under his own power and did not require medical treatment.

The field had nearly completed its run around the far turn when Lil' Bit of Pucker, who was running fifth and just off the rail, fell and threw Coa to the track. Lady's Don't Tell, ridden by Morgan and running just behind Lil' Bit of Pucker, immediately tumbled over the fallen horse. Darling Bee, ridden by Bejarano, and Zoe In Red, ridden by Deegan, could not avoid those horses and went down in quick succession.

Of the four horses involved in the incident, only Lady's Don't Tell was transported from the track by an equine ambulance. The 3-year-old filly, who is owned by Nancy Polk and trained by Peter W. Salmen, Jr., was being evaluated by veterinarians on Sunday evening. The three remaining horses were rounded up by the track's outriders and taken back to their respective stables and all apparently avoided serious injury.

Victor E. Johnson Sr.'s Alfir's Ace, who was leading the field under jockey Pat Johnson at the time of the mishap and was not affected by the accident, won the race.

(Chart, Equibase)

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