LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) --Just one week ago, jockey John Velazquez was celebrating a victory in the Belmont Stakes aboard Union Rags. Tonight, he's facing surgery after breaking his collarbone in a three-horse spill in Churchill Downs' ninth race.
Velazquez was transported to Audubon Hospital even as his horse -- Mr. Producer -- was being euthanized because of a left front cannon bone fracture.
Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers said via Twitter late Saturday that Velazquez had suffered a broken right collarbone and would require surgery. Quoting track chaplain Ken Boehm, who was with Velazquez at the hospital, Rogers said Velazquez hoped to have the collarbone stabilized so he could undergo the surgery, which will require the insertion of a plate, in New York. Doctors also were performing a precautionary CT scan.
Velazquez's mount, Mr. Producer, broke down near the sixteenth pole, falling to the inside and taking out Smart Farda and jockey Manoel Cruz. Velazquez was thrown forward and then kicked while on the ground by the trailing Lemansky, causing jockey John McKee to also be thrown.
Cruz and McKee walked off the track, but McKee took off his final mount of the night.
Velazquez was, according to Twitter accounts from the Churchill Downs communications department, immediately "strapped to a stretcher" but had "full mobility ... complaining of pain in his right shoulder."
Velazquez was selected for racing's Hall of Fame this past April. He won the 2011 Kentucky Derby aboard Animal Kingdom. His first Triple Crown win came in the 2007 Belmont, piloting filly Rags to Riches.
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