DEL MAR, Calif. — Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza is wearing a neck brace while recovering at his San Diego home after fracturing a vertebra during a training accident at Del Mar.
Agent Brian Beach says on Twitter that the 46-year-old rider spent 11 days in the hospital and at a rehabilitation facility.
Espinoza says he initially thought he might be paralyzed after the July 22 fall at the track north of San Diego. He told ABC affiliate KGTV in San Diego that his body was numb and he could only move his right arm.
The jockey says the first time he cried was when he first started moving his right leg and by the time he got to the hospital he started moving his other leg.
Espinoza says his left arm is still numb. He will be in the neck brace for six weeks and hopes to make a full recovery.
He was exercising Bobby Abu Dhabi during morning workouts when the horse had an apparent heart attack and threw Espinoza off. Bobby Abu Dhabi died.
Espinoza rode American Pharoah to a sweep of the Triple Crown in 2015.
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert swept the CashCall Futurity and Starlet for 2-year-olds, winning the Grade 1 races for the second straight year at Los Alamitos.
Improbable won the $300,345 Futurity by five lengths as the 1-5 favorite and 3-2 favorite Chasing Yesterday won the $300,345 Starlet by a head on Saturday. Drayden Van Dyke became the second jockey to win both races in the same year.
Baffert earned his fifth straight victory in the Futurity and his 11th overall, having won it six times at old Hollywood Park.
Improbable ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.18 and paid $2.40 to win. The colt’s ownership includes most of the group that owned Triple Crown winner Justify.
In the Starlet, Chasing Yesterday ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.59 and paid $5 to win. She is a half-sister to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, also trained by Baffert.
DEL MAR, Calif. — Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza is aiming to return to riding in January, six months after he was seriously injured in a training accident.
The 46-year-old rider says he had an MRI recently and “it came out perfect.” Espinoza says he doesn’t need surgery and his spinal cord has healed “perfectly,” which was his main concern.
He fractured a vertebra in his neck at Del Mar last July when the horse he was exercising fell.
Espinoza was back at Del Mar on Saturday for the first time since the accident. He presented the trophy to the winning connections in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He has been recuperating at his Del Mar home.
Espinoza says he hopes to return sometime in January at Santa Anita. The track opens its winter meet on Dec. 26.
He rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015.