Leading Rider Thompson Injured at Prairie Meadows

by Dan Johnson

Jockey Terry Thompson suffered a broken leg June 29 during a three-horse spill in the second race at Prairie Meadows.

The accident occurred entering the far turn. Soriano Cat, ridden by Kelly Murray, was on the lead when he broke a leg and plummeted to the ground. Thompson was right behind on Brilliant Beau, who tripped over the fallen horse and sent Thompson crashing to the ground. Then, Precious Builder, ridden by R.D. Williams, was unable to avoid the pileup and also tripped.

"It was a chain reaction," Williams said.

Williams and Murray were shaken up but remained at the track. Brilliant Beau and Precocious Builder were uninjured, but Soriano Cat's was euthanized.

Murray said his horse broke down without warning. He was sent tumbling to the ground, and things started spinning chaotically. "It's like being a towel in a dryer," Murray said. "You don't know which way things are going to go. I didn't have any major impacts, but I felt all three horses go over me. Terry went down, and I felt his horse go over me, and then R.D.'s did the same thing."

Thompson broke his right leg just above his kneecap and was taken to Mercy Medical Center. The impact was so great that Murray said Thompson's boot was nearly ripped off his leg.

"Terry and I were side-by-side and Kelly's horse fell out a little bit," jockey Perry Compton said. "My horse moved out a little bit, but Terry couldn't avoid him."

Thompson, who grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and lives in Ankeny, Iowa, was the leading rider at Prairie Meadows' Thoroughbred-only meet for the past four years. His Prairie Meadows records include most wins in a year--119 in 2002--and most wins in stakes races at 32.

Thompson's injury came just as he was attracting national attention for riding Island Sand, one of the country's top 3-year-old fillies. Thompson rode Island Sand to victory in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) and was second in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) and third in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I).

Thompson was the second rider seriously injured in the past 10 days. Ken Shino broke four ribs, cracked a vertebrate, and had a collapsed lung in a June 19 fall.