Apprentice Rider Injured After Horse Jumps Hedge

Edited press release

Elizabel Navarro, a 19-year-old apprentice jockey, remained at University Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, the morning of July 26 after being thrown from her mount in the final race at River Downs the day before.

Navarro and her mount, Bibi, turned for home in the one-mile turf race with a clear lead. The rider drew her whip and hit the 5-year-old mare righthanded one time, and Bibi suddenly ducked into and through the inside hedge. Navarro was thrown to the ground.

The incident occurred directly across from where members of the emergency squad and starting gate crew were watching the race. According to a release, Bibi had died by time the crews crossed to the inside of the turf course.

Track physician Dr. Nico Capurro said Navarro appeared to have an injury in her pelvic region, so she was transported to the hospital.

Leading jockey Hector Rosario Jr. rode Bibi in her last start and said the mare attempted to lug in. "That's why I wanted to stay outside of her," Rosario said. "When I saw Elizabel go to the right whip, I thought, 'Oh,no.' They went over the hedge and hit hard. She's a big horse, and I prayed Elizabel didn't hold on."

A native of Panama, Navarro began riding at the age of 17 and captured her first career victory in her homeland. She recorded her first United States win this spring at Beulah Park in Ohio.

Navarro, a natural lightweight, rode five races on the July 25 card . She had won the next-to-last race. From 47 mounts at the meet, Navarro has three wins, four seconds, and six thirds.