According to Vance’s son, Tommy Vance, the one-car accident occurred in northern Kentucky near the Verona exit on I-71. Vance, 67, was driving to Turfway Park in the rain on Dec. 9 when his SUV hydroplaned on the wet highway and flipped several times. The trainer fractured the C-4 vertebra in his neck, developed bulging disks, and tore neck ligaments in the crash. He was transported to Cincinnati’s University Hospital, where doctors performed surgery the next day.
“We’re still waiting on the swelling to go down, but the surgery was successful, and they did less than they thought they’d have to do,” said Tommy Vance. “The torn ligaments weren’t as bad as they thought; it was mostly the fractured vertebra and bulging disks that they had to deal with. He’s got sensation and he can move his feet and has feeling in his hands.”
Vance will remain in Cincinnati until he has stabilized, but doctors hope to transfer him to Louisville for further recovery within two days. Meanwhile, his daughter and assistant trainer Trisha Vance will oversee the regular operations of his stable.
“Trisha is handling all that; that’s her job, and me and my brother Travis are here to assist in any way possible,” said Tommy Vance, who drove up from Hot Springs, Ark., on Dec. 10. “Dad is a strong, fit man, and he’s hardheaded, so we’re optimistic he’ll make a full recovery.”
Based at Churchill Downs where he has won three training titles, Vance has trained nearly 3,000 winners. He captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with Eclipse Award winner Caressing in 2000.