Jockey Victor Espinoza injured when horse collapses, dies in Del Mar


California Chrome with jockey Victor Espinoza wins the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, 2014. (Getty Images)

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DEL MAR -- A horse died during training at the Del Mar racetrack Sunday, injuring jockey Victor Espinoza.

Kona Gold Stakes winner Bobby Abu Dhabi went into cardiac arrest on the track, owner Brian Trump tweeted around 10 a.m.

“As I say, 'stuff happens,' and it happened this morning to a fine horse ... It’s unfortunate,” Del Mar Racetrack spokesperson Mac McBride told FOX 5.

Espinoza, who won the 2015 Triple Crown on American Pharaoh, sustained fractured vertebrae and injuries to his neck and left arm, according to Jeff Furmanski, a spokesman for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

“Victor, I believe now is going to have a vacation at Del Mar,” said McBride.

McBride says Espinoza was injured after stake horse Bobby Abu Dhabi suffered some sort of cardiac arrest, tumbled and fell. The jockey was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital complaining of shoulder pain and numbness.

“They did a series of x-rays and MRIs. Victor, it appears, has a small fracture to his C-3 vertebrae,” said McBride. There’s no word on exactly how long Espinoza's injuries will keep him from the races, but McBride is optimistic.

“I know what a tough little guy Victor is,” he said. “He might not be feeling 100 percent but he’ll be here cracking jokes and he’ll be back riding as soon as he can ride."

All horses who die at a California Horse Racing Board Track must have a necropsy performed.

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