No major injuries reported after scary seven-horse spill at Del Mar

Four jockeys taken to hospital for evaluation but released by Sunday night


Four jockeys and seven horses appeared to escape serious injury Sunday afternoon after a scary incident in the seventh race at Del Mar Racetrack.

All the horses regained their feet and none suffered any major injury, according to Dr. Dana Stead, Del Mar’s racing veterinarian. He added the only injuries among the seven horses were minor lacerations.

Jockeys Tyler Baze, Cesar Ortega and Emily Ellingwood were taken by ambulance to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla to be evaluated. Tiago Pereira, who on Saturday rode Tripoli to victory in the $1 million Pacific Classic, later went to the same hospital after complaining of hip pain in the first-aid room at the track.

All four had been released from the hospital by Sunday night, according to their agents.

The race was declared null and void under California Horse Racing Board rules because the incident involved more than half the horses in the field. Twelve horses had started in the six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares who had never won a race.

The field was approaching the far turn when Sassy Chasey, ridden by apprentice Diego Herrera, ran up behind Katie’s Paradise as the latter filly was racing side-by-side with Scream and Shout for the lead. Sassy Chasey clipped the rear heels of Katie’s Paradise and flipped, unseating Herrera.

Whiskey Blue (Kyle Frey) and Corners Up (Juan Espinoza) fell over Sassy Chasey, while Phoenix Tears (Pereira) tripped over Whiskey Blue. Three other horses farther back in the pack — Siena Silk (Ellingwood), Renegade Princess (Baze) and Backtoflash (Ortega) — all unseated their riders after making contact.

Siena Silk, Renegade Princess and Backtoflash all ran to the finish without their riders.

Mongolian Panther, ridden by Edwin Maldonado, avoided the pile-up and crossed the line first ahead of four other horses with riders. But under CHRB Rule 1544 (B), the stewards declared no contest with all monies bet on the event being returned.

After the accident Frey, Pereira, Herrera and Espinoza all walked back across the infield.

After a short delay, Geovanni Franco rode favored Lieutenant Dan to victory in the featured $100,000, Grade III Green Flash Handicap, a five-furlong turf sprint for older horses.

Lieutenant Dan ($6.00) led out of the gate, gave up the lead briefly to Give Me the Lute and regained the lead on the turn to win by 2 ¼ lengths over ’Lute. Gregorian Chant was third in the field of eight. It was the second win of the meeting for Lieutenant Dan and Franco, who teamed to win an allowance race July 23.

“I know this horse well,” said Franco. Since he came back from his year layoff, he’s more puffed up and acting like a bully. When I had the lead in the straight, I wasn’t worried about the others behind me. But I wasn’t going to wait for them either.”

“He overcame my training,” said Steve Miyadi. “I didn’t train him particularly hard for July 23 because I was thinking about this race and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he ran.”

Center is a freelance writer.


9:18 a.m. Aug. 23, 2021: This article was updated with news that all four riders had been released from the hospital.