LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY— The cheers of fans turned to gasps Saturday afternoon at Churchill downs as an otherwise uneventful race turned tragic after a mid-race collision sent several jockeys flying to the ground and left one jockey dead.
Two jockeys were injured and taken away from Churchill Downs by ambulance after a scary collision during the third race of the Kentucky Derby day slate.
Jockey Megan Fadlovich complained of concussion symptoms, and fellow rider Marcelino Pedroza Jr. complained of lower back pain after the incident, which appeared to start when two horses clipped heels. Both jockeys were alert and moving all extremities as they were taken to nearby Audubon Hospital for further examination, a track spokesman said.
Back at the track, a tragedy unfolded that has left many stunned.
A third jockey who was dismounted in the incident, James Graham, broke his leg so severely that trainers were forced to perform emergency medical procedures on location and accidentally injected him with a lethal dose of the drug barbiturates, a drug that is commonly used to euthanize horses.
“I really had no idea what to do,” said horse trainer Joseph Goldsmith, “I was forced into a situation that I was not properly trained to handle and I made a mistake that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. I was trained that broken legs get that injection but I was only trained for horses, not humans.”
“This is the type of thing that happens when you let horse trainers make perform medical procedures on humans,” said Bruce Moore, a lifelong animal right activist who watched the entire scene unfold. “But I think it’s karma coming back for all the horses that got put down after breaking their legs.”
Representatives from Churchill Downs have not yet commented on the events. They are expected to release a statement sometime after their team of lawyers figure out a way to absolve them of all responsibility.