Horse Dies, 2 Jockeys Injured in Spill at Del Mar

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Del Mar Racetrack Grandstand. Photo courtesy of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

A racehorse died and two jockeys were hurt in a spill in the last race of the day Saturday at the Del Mar Racetrack.

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Irish Spring, ridden by Corey Nakatani, went down after clipping the heel of a horse that had cut in front it. As Irish Spring was falling, Bitter Ring Home, ridden by Geovanni Franco, tripped over the horse and fell as well.

Both jockeys were thrown from the horses into the grass area. Irish Spring, however, died in the accident.

This is the second horse death at Del Mar this season. Kona Gold Stakes winner Bobby Abu Dhabi died from cardiac arrest two weeks ago.

The spill happened in the 10th race after the field had just entered the final stretch in front of the grandstands.

“Del Mar is, of course, saddened by the loss of the horse Irish Spring in the unfortunate racing accident that occurred in the 10th Race Saturday,” Del Mar Thoroughbred Club spokesman Mac McBride told Times of San Diego. “We are heartened, however, by the fact that both riders involved in the spill appear to have avoided any sort of serious injury.”

Both jockeys were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla and held overnight for observations. Franco was released and was seen Sunday morning back at Del Mar exercising horses, McBride said.

Franco suffered no major injuries from the spill, his agent James Giannone said.

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“He just had a little bruise on the foot,” he said.

Franco is expected to race in the fourth, sixth and eighth race Sunday, Giannone said.

Nakatani was the more injured of the two but also had no lasting injuries. He is expected to be released from the hospital Sunday afternoon and returned home to Los Angeles to recover, his agent and son Matt Nakatani said.

“Thankfully he escaped with no major injuries,” his son said. “Nothing was broken.”

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