Fans who stood near the walking ring before Sunday’s 8th Gulfstream Park West race joined us in witnessing a vivid reminder of the dangers posed by thoroughbreds, particularly young and untested ones.
Fortunately jockey Joe Bravo, who was tossed to the ground by his mount Trickita, did not suffer serious injury.
Late Monday afternoon, a Gulfstream Park official said that Bravo is fine and basically “had the wind knocked out of him.”
Bravo is expected to ride his next scheduled mount on Thursday at the GP West meet. Gulfstream is holding the meet at Calder under a lease agreement with that track.
But it was tense for several minutes on Sunday as Bravo, while moving and speaking, lay on his back getting medical attention. After being helped to his feet, the highly competitive Bravo was heard muttering and cursing as he walked without assistance back to the jockeys’ room.
And as frequently happens when a horse acts wild before a race, Trickita settled down enough to run impressively. With Edgar Prado subbing for Bravo, she finished third in the $50,000 maiden special weight race for two-year-old fillies at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf.
Sweet Victory won the race gate-to-wire, bucking the weekend trend of speed not holding up in turf races.
Just as Bravo got on board, Trickita reared up, spun around and tossed him to the grass just inside the dirt walking ring. One of her kicks appeared to catch him in the mid-section. Fortunately, jockeys wear inflatable flak jackets.
As those inside the walking ring (including members of owners’ families) scrambled away, Paddock officials corralled the kicking Trickita and took her back to the covered saddling area. Soon, the other nine horses were taken to that area.
Many of us who were on-site were surprised that Trickita was not scratched by order of the stewards.
Trickita provides a lesson on why it pays to be careful when near thoroughbreds. Thoroughbreds of racing age weigh 1,000 or more pounds. It is important to not stand behind them or walk closely behind them.
(Note: The photo on our home page, also adjacent, shows track veterinarian Dr. Patricia Marquis attending to Bravo while waiting for the track medic to arrive. Photo credit: Barry Unterbrink, HorseracingFLA.com’s business manager.