Ouzts on Sidelines After Fall at Turfway Park

Esther Marr

Jockey Perry Ouzts was injured after an accident in the second race at Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky Jan. 29 and is expected to be on the sidelines for two months.

Ouzts, aboard Finder's Chance in the claiming race, was thrown to the ground when the gelding fell suddenly at the quarter pole near the top of the stretch. Finder's Chance, who was racing in second along the rail at the time, took no apparent bad step when he fell.

In addition to bruising and swelling caused by Finder's Chance stepping on the jockey's left thigh, Ouzts suffered injuries to his right arm, where his humerus (upper bone) was dislocated at the elbow. One of his lower-arm bones sustained a compound fracture and was repaired with plates and screws during a three-hour surgery at University Hospital in nearby Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ouzts believes he didn't break his arm in the fall; rather, it occurred when he was kicked by one of the horses that ran past him. According to Ouzts' wife, Toni, doctors expect to remove the hardware in his arm after the break heals, which will take six to eight weeks. It is uncertain whether Ouzts will regain full range of motion.

Turfway officials said Finder's Chance got up and ran off after the fall, then was caught by outriders. The 6-year-old son of Canvas was loaded onto the horse ambulance as a precaution and was taken back to his barn, with no apparent broken bones or other injuries.

Ouzts is waiting for the results of an MRI on his back to discover whether chips seen on X-rays are a result of his Turfway fall, or from when he broke his back twice in riding accidents about 25 years ago.

Ouzts could begin physical therapy in about a week. There is no word on when he expects to return to riding. Ouzts, a regular at Turfway and River Downs in Ohio, recently passed the 4,900-win mark and is aiming for 5,000 in the near term, with a larger goal of reaching 6,000 before he retires.

During the current winter/spring at Turfway, Ouzts had $115,465 in purse earnings from 124 mounts, with five wins, 16 seconds, and 12 thirds.