2 jockeys hospitalized, horse dies at Del Mar

Cambodia and jockey Drayden Van Dyke win the Grade II, $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap on Saturday at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. (BENOIT PHOTO)

SAN DIEGO — Two jockeys were hospitalized and one horse died Saturday in a horrific accident in the final race at Del Mar.

Jockeys Corey Nakatani and Geovanni Franco were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where they are being held for observation.

Nakatani’s mount, Irish Spring, died of injuries suffered in the fall. Franco’s mount, Bitter Ring Home, went down but regained his feet and ran down the track where it was corralled by track outriders and led off the turf course.

The accident in the 10th race happened after the field had just entered the stretch on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in front of the grandstands.

Aussie Fox, ridden by apprentice Assael Espinoza, moved from the second lane to the rail directly in front of Irish Spring, who clipped the hind heels of Aussie Fox. As Irish Spring went down, Bitter Ring Home went over the top of the fallen horse and also went down. Both Nakatani and Franco were thrown to the grass.

Nakatani crawled toward the inside rail. Franco momentarily regained his feet before he went back down. Both jockeys were placed in neck braces and on backboards and taken to the hospital.

This was the second thoroughbred death of the summer meeting. Bobby Abu Dhabi suffered fatal cardiac arrest while working out the morning of July 22, resulting in Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza suffering a fracture to the C-3 vertebrae in his neck.

Read Bill Center’s full report on San Diego Union-Tribune.