Secret Compass Euthanized, John Velazquez Injured After Breeders' Cup Accident

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 2, 2013

Nov 2, 2013; Arcadia, CA, USA; John Velazquez aboard Wise Dan following victory of race eleven of the 2013 Breeders' Cup Championships at Santa Anita Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Secret Compass and John Velazquez suffered a scary fall in the first race of the Breeders' Cup second day on Saturday, and news unfortunately worsened afterwards.


UPDATE: Sunday, Nov. 3, at 12:35 a.m. ET

From Daily Racing Form's David Grening:

---End of update---


Original Text

According to NBC Sports, the horse had to be euthanized, while the 41-year-old jockey was forced to undergo emergency surgery to have his spleen removed:

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.

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.

Running in the Juvenile Fillies, Secret Compass' front legs collapsed short before the final turn, sending Velazquez to the ground in a heart-wrenching fall. 

According to the NBC report, a green screen went up to cover the horse from the crowd. 

Crashes like these, and the dangerous injuries that accompany them, unfortunately, can sometimes be an all-too-tragic aspect of horse racing, and it's sad that this happened on what is typically one of the greatest days of the year for the sport. 

Velazquez, who has wins in several Breeders' Cup races as well as victories in the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby, is No. 3 in jockey earnings in 2013. It's good that his serious injury was discovered before he left the hospital, and hopefully he is able to make a full and quick recovery. 

The race was eventually won by She's a Tiger and Gary Stevens, but after a disqualification, Ria Antonia was named the winner. 

Stevens won the Breeders' Cup Classic aboard Mucho Macho Man later in the day.