Jockey Rafael Bejarano, the leading rider during Santa Anita’s current meet, sustained compressed fractures to the T-5 and T-6 vertebra in a March 13 spill and has been replaced by Michael Baze as the rider for George Schwary's 3-year-old Georgie Boy in the March 15 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II)
According to Bejarano’s agent, Joe Ferrer, the jockey visited orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Capen the day after the spill and received positive news as far as recovery time is concerned.
“He said the fractures are real minimal; the two vertebra didn’t crack all the way through when they contracted, they just touched and cracked a little on the outside,” Ferrer said. “He said he could be riding in two or three weeks if all goes well.”
Bejarano will wear a brace to support the injured area and will return to Capen next week for another assessment, Ferrer said. The jockey may spend time in Peru following that visit.
Bejarano was thrown at Santa Anita when his mount in the eighth race apparently suffered a fatal heart attack. The horse, Daniel Olson’s 3-year-old Parisian Art, fell in the final furlong of the seven-furlong maiden claiming event after Bejarano eased him to the back of a 12-horse field.
Bejarano hit the track headfirst when his Doug O’Neill-trained mount collapsed. He was transported via ambulance to Arcadia Methodist Hospital, where emergency room physicians took an MRI to evaluate the damage and the jockey was found to have compressed fractures to the T-5 and T-6 vertebra.
Atop the jockey standings with 60 wins, Bejarano had ridden two earlier winners on the card, including Steven’s Being in the feature race just before his spill. It was the 12th winning ride for Bejarano in 25 mounts since March 8. The Santa Anita racing office confirmed that Baze would earn the mount on Georgie Boy.