Injured Riders Improve, Likely to be Released

Three jockeys injured in Monday's five-horse pileup in the fourth race at Del Mar continued to show improvement Wednesday. Riders Anthony Lovato and Jose Silva could be released from Scripps La Jolla Hospital Thursday to recuperate from back injuries at home.

Lovato, who was aboard Sunset Stables' Mr. Powerful when the horse broke down and fell in upper stretch causing a chain reaction of horses to fall over them, suffered compression fractures to two vertebrae, but will not be required to undergo surgery, he said.

He said he also suffered a slight shoulder fracture which, aside from causing some pain, would not keep him out of action any longer than the four weeks his doctors estimated.

"I'm very lucky," Lovato said from his hospital bed. "I feel very bad for the horses, though, and their (connections).

Referring to remarks attributed to another jockey, Tyler Baze, criticizing the condition of Mr. Powerful prior to the race, Lovato said, "I was in a good part of the track and making my move when it happened and he was moving fine. It's my job to ride horses and I'm not going to go out there and risk my life or anyone else's for (the losing mount fee).

"I'm glad nobody got seriously hurt and I'm looking forward to riding again, probably in time for Fairplex."

Jose Silva, who also exercises horses for trainer Bobby Frankel, suffered a fracture to his L-1 vertebrae after his mount, Jentzen, fell over their downed rivals. According to Del Mar's track information, he will also not be required to undergo surgery and could be back in action in about a month.

Baze, who suffered chip fractures of the left foot and toe when Kiss an Angel was unable to avoid the spill, was fitted with a boot brace on Monday and is expected to be back in action as soon as next week.

David Flores and Mick Ruis were uninjured in the spill when their mounts, The Station and Pacific Pride, fell over their downed rivals. Both went on to win races later on Monday's card.

The two surviving horses, Kiss an Angel and The Station, were battered and bruised but otherwise not seriously injured.