Secret Compass euthanized after Breeders' Cup accident - NBC Sports

Secret Compass euthanized after Breeders' Cup accident
Juvenile horse sustains fractured leg after collapse; jockey Velazquez has spleen removed
November 2, 2013, 7:30 pm

The Breeders' Cup got off to a chaotic start on its second day, with a rare disqualification in the opening race and a horse euthanized with a broken leg at Santa Anita and a jockey undergoing emergency surgery.

The $2 million Juvenile Fillies went from strange to tragic over several minutes Saturday. The DQ was announced after a green screen went up in a spot approaching the final turn to shield injured Secret Compass from the crowd.

John Velazquez, who was riding Secret Compass, underwent emergency surgery to remove his spleen, Velazquez's agent Angel Cordero Jr. told a Santa Anita spokesman by phone. The jockey was about to be released from a Pasadena hospital after he was thrown from Secret Compass and hit the track hard during Saturday's first Breeders' Cup race when doctors discovered internal bleeding.

Cordero says Velazquez was immediately taken to surgery for the spleen removal.

The 41-year-old New York-based jockey has won most of the nation's major stakes, including 13 Breeders' Cup races.

Ria Antonia finished second in the race but was declared the winner of the 1 1/16-mile race after She's a Tiger was disqualified by the stewards.

They ruled that She's a Tiger and Gary Stevens drifted out late, bumped Ria Antonia and Javier Castellano, slowing her momentum.

"I had gotten by Gary but when he came in to me, he bumped me off-stride," Castellano said.

Stevens, who won the $2 million Distaff with Beholder on Friday, said the stewards had a tough call.

"The stewards made their call and I wouldn't disagree with that," he said.

It was the first DQ of a winner since the inaugural 1984 Juvenile Fillies race in which Fran's Valentine won and later was placed 10th.

"This is heartbreaking," said Jeff Bonde, who trains She's a Tiger.

Sent off at 32-1 odds, Ria Antonia paid $66.60, $29.80 and $17.40. The winning time was 1:43.02 and the margin was a nose.

"If that horse changes course and doesn't make contact, you say, `OK, leave it up,"' said Jeremiah Englehart, who trains Ria Antonia. "But once you make contact it has to come down."

She's a Tiger returned $6.40 and $4.80. Rosalind paid $6.80 to show.

Running third at the time, Secret Compass' front legs collapsed, slamming Velazquez hard into the dirt. The 2-year-old filly trained by Bob Baffert was euthanized after sustaining a lateral condylar fracture, according to on-call veterinarian Dr. Wayne McIlwraith.

"It is the worst type of injury we get, unfortunately," he said.

Velazquez was scratched from races as he went to the hospital.

Order was restored in the next race, with 3-2 favorite Dank winning the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf by a half-length over Romantica.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Dank ran 1 1/4 miles in 1:58.73 and paid $5, $3.40 and $2.80. The Britain-bred filly is trained by Michael Stoute.

"She had everything right today," Moore said. "I didn't have to take too many chances because she was the best filly in the race."

Another favorite, 3-1 Groupie Doll, won the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint by a half-length.

Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, the 5-year-old mare covered seven furlongs in 1:20.75 and paid $8, $4.60 and $3.40. She's trained by William Bradley.

Judy the Beauty finished second, with Luis Saez a late replacement for Velazquez.

Information from The Associated Press used in this report.

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