05/25/2006 11:00PM

After flashing before her eyes, Jackson's life goes on


A few weeks ago, California breeder Ellen Jackson reflected positively on how business was going at her Victory Rose Farm in Vacaville.

"It's been an excellent season, probably our best season yet," she recalls thinking at the time. "I was gloating on the fact that we hadn't had any problems. Everything was going so well."

That was before the bizarre events of May 14, when the stallion Corslew attacked Jackson after a breeding session. Jackson was later hospitalized with several injuries, including a punctured lung and broken ribs.

Jackson returned home on May 19, and while she has not returned to her role in the day-to-day activities of the 67-acre farm, she is slowly resuming a normal life.

"I can drive a car and I've been walking every day to get my lungs going," she said. "I'm basically unscathed. I had a punctured lung, and that's healed. I had a broken nose, but that's been broken before."

The incident remains vivid in Jackson's mind. She was leading Corslew back to his stall after the breeding session when he knocked her over.

"I've run this over and over in my mind," Jackson said. "After you breed a stallion they're normally relaxed. He should have been happy; he had just bred a mare. He lifted me up and threw me down. It happened so quickly. I thought something had scared him. It didn't occur that he was attacking me.

"I looked up, and he's on his hind legs and coming down on me with his mouth open. It was the scariest thing I've ever gone through."

Jackson was aided by farm employees before being rushed to the hospital.

It was the third and most serious injury that Jackson has suffered in the last year. "I got run over by a yearling and broke a collarbone," she said. "I got kicked in the knee. This is the third one. Hopefully, I'm done."

Corslew, who was known to have a temper, was euthanized in the days following the attack. He was standing his first season at Victory Rose, having previously stood at Rancho San Miguel.

Corslew had not been bred to many mares this year. Jackson said that when she picked him up from Rancho San Miguel, she was told that he had displayed a temper one time when he was given a bath before a breeding session.

"I wonder if he'd been holding a grudge and finally went off," Jackson said. "He went off the deep end."

Victory Rose stands seven stallions: Comet Shine, Flying Victor, For Really, Globalize, Islander, Latin American, and Michael's Flyer.

Michael's Flyer is the sire of Vaca City Flyer, the top female sprinter in northern California. Vaca City Flyer has won three consecutive stakes this year: the Mount Tam Stakes and Rockridge Stakes at Golden Gate Fields and the Monterey Handicap at Bay Meadows on May 13. In the Rockridge Stakes, she ran five furlongs on turf in a course record 55.25 seconds.

Vaca City Flyer, 5, has won 12 of 22 starts and $327,656. Jackson raced Vaca City Flyer at the start of her career, but lost her when she was claimed for $8,000 from a maiden race in July 2004.

Jackson said she does not dwell on losing Vaca City Flyer through a claim. She races only a few horses, selling many after they are foaled and others after they begin racing.

"I try to sell them," she said. "My goal is to be the breeder for the California-bred awards. They usually get claimed off me, and that's my sales plan. Trainers will call me and say, 'I've got an owner who wants to claim one of your horses.' I say, 'Good. Want to come over and see them first?' "

Jackson recently acquired Vaca City Flyer's dam, Desert Rose, who was being bred to warm bloods. She has a suckling full sister to Vaca City Flyer and bred Desert Rose back to Michael's Flyer earlier this year.

"When you find a good niche, you don't want to change it," she said.

Those foals have Jackson looking to the future and very thankful not to have suffered grave injuries earlier this month.

"I've had a major outpouring of generous thoughts," she said. "I shouldn't be alive."