Jockey Smith Breaks Neck in Fall; Doctors Hopeful

by Chad Cooper

Jockey Guy Smith, second in the standings at Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino, suffered a broken neck in an April 22 racing accident at the Opelousas, La., racetrack and underwent surgery April 25.

Doctors said Smith, a native of Vinton, La., is luck to be alive after the fall. The jockey was riding Pronounced in the eighth race at Evangeline that evening when the horse lost his footing, fell, and threw Smith to the ground. The horse directly behind him, Net Wire, ridden by Sylvester Carmouche Jr., couldn't avoid the fallen horse and fell on Smith's neck.

Carmouche suffered a broken leg. Pronounced, trained by Keith Bourgeois and owned by James Green, was euthanized.

Smith was taken to Opelousas General Hospital but was transferred to Lafeytte General Medical Center later that evening. According to a Smith family spokesperson, neurosurgeons couldn't believe he wasn't instantly paralyzed in the accident. Test results showed Smith had shattered his C-7 vertebrae and
broke his shoulder.

Doctors told the family paralysis is a possible side effect, but most recover within four months.

Smith and his wife have two children. He was second with 16 wins in the standings at Evangeline before the accident.