03/18/2012 3:20PM

Gulfstream Park: Paco Lopez breaks collarbone, fractures ribs in spill

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Paco Lopez broke his collarbone in a spill Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Paco Lopez, the two-time defending Gulfstream Park riding champion, suffered a broken collarbone and six fractured ribs in a frightening spill that took place near the top of the stretch in Saturday’s 11th and final race.

Lopez was aboard Little Bailey who appeared to clip heels with the tiring Corinthian Leather, setting off a chain reaction that also involved Morediamondsplease and Miracle At Sea. Jockeys Luis Jurado and Antonio Gallardo also went down in the mishap, but both escaped without serious injuries, although Gallardo did spend the night at nearby Memorial Regional Hospital.

None of the three horses involved in the spill were seriously hurt.

Lopez’s agent, Corey Moran, said Sunday that the preliminary prognosis calls  for his rider to be sidelined from six to eight weeks. Lopez, who is currently third in the standings behind Javier Castellano and John Velazquez, is the regular rider for Force Freeze, runner-up in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Lopez won the 2011 riding title at Gulfstream, despite missing nearly one month of the meet after injuring his elbow in a spill last February that left fellow rider Eibar Coa temporarily paralyzed.