05/23/2004 11:00PM

Jockeys okay after four-horse spill


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A four-horse spill in the last race Sunday at Churchill Downs sent three jockeys to Louisville hospitals for treatment. Late Sunday evening, two of the riders, Daniel Coa and Joe Deegan, had been treated and released. The other, Mike Morgan, rem-ained hospitalized Monday with a back injury.

Coa, Deegan, and Morgan were unseated in the spill, along with jockey Rafael Bejarano, who walked away uninjured. The incident occurred as the field approached the stretch in the 10th race, a one-mile maiden claiming race with 10 horses.

The spill was triggered when Lil' Bit of Pucker, with Coa aboard, stumbled and fell when racing in midpack, tossing Coa to the track. Lady's Don't Tell, ridden by Morgan and running just behind Lil' Bit of Pucker, then tumbled over the fallen horse. Darling Bee, ridden by Bejarano, and Zoe in Red, ridden by Deegan, also could not avoid those horses and went down in succession.

"I couldn't get out quick enough," Deegan said Monday. "I knew I was going down."

Deegan said he was knocked unconscious, and when he came around he thought he had broken a vertebrae in his back. He was transported by ambulance to Caritas Medical Center, where X-rays proved negative.

"I'm sore, but okay," he said.

Morgan said from Norton Audubon Hospital on Monday that he had back pain, but his doctor said he had suffered no broken bones. Morgan said he did not know how long he would be hospitalized or what kind of treatment his back injury would require.

"I'm not moving too well," he said.

Coa was released from Norton Audubon hospital Sunday night after being evaluated.

Lady's Don't Tell was euthanized Sunday evening. Trainer Peter Salmen Jr. said she suffered a broken shoulder when she tumbled over Lil' Bit of Pucker.

According to Churchill Downs, the three other horses from the spill were rounded up by the track's outriders and taken back to their stables.

The 10th race continued after the spill and was won by Alfir's Ace, who led the field at the time of the accident. She overheated upon returning to be unsaddled, was doused with water, and was immediately taken to the backstretch by an outrider.

Next step for Go Lionel Go

Wednesday's ninth race features a number of talented but lightly raced runners in an entry-level allowance at six furlongs, including Go Lionel Go, a runaway maiden winner in his second start April 25.

Randy Mathews, who trains the 3-year-old Lucky Lionel colt and co-owns him with Melinda Barber, believes he has exciting potential.

Last month when returning from over a seven-month layoff, Go Lionel Go won a fast race in the mud - earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. Mathews insists the mud had nothing to do with the ease of his victory. Talent did.

"He'd run on a highway," Mathews said.

Crafty Cammack, who was beaten 3 1/2 lengths when second to Go Lionel Go last month, returned to win his maiden by 7 1/4 lengths in Sunday's sixth race.

A good group is set to oppose Go Lionel Go, led by Wrzeszcz, who finished third behind Bull Market in a fast Oaks Day allowance, and Glittergem, a stakes-placed colt who has a win and two seconds in three starts.

Mighty Military minds gate manners

Mighty Military lost some hair when he reared and got stuck in the gate in a May 13 allowance race. So, too, might have trainer Bob Holthus.

Scratched at the gate, Mighty Military avoided injury, beyond losing some hair on a leg. Repeatedly schooled since, he is entered in Wednesday's fourth race, a two-other-than at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Holthus said Mighty Military will wear a chain noseband to improve his behavior.

His principal rivals in the fourth race include Bogangles, Puget Sound, and Knox.

Everything to Gain has just enough

Everything to Gain overcame a troubled trip to catch pacesetter Devil Time in the final strides for a neck victory in Sunday's featured $65,200 allowance.

Everything to Gain was momentarily blocked entering the stretch, but found room under Mark Guidry and surged to victory. He ran 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf in 1:48.45 and paid $4.

Everything to Gain, trained by Dale Romans, had previously finished seventh in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 1, a race that had been contested on a rain-soaked grass course.

Earlier in the Sunday card, Salcombe won an entry-level allowance on turf, running 1 1/16 miles under Pat Day in a swift 1:41.51. Trainer Wally Dollase is undecided on his next race.

Bejarano clings on to lead

Through Sunday, Bejarano holds a 28-27 lead over Pat Day and Cornelio Velasquez in the rider standings.

Joining the local rider colony Wednesday will be apprentice Brian Hernandez Jr., the leading rider at Evangeline Downs. He is named to ride six horses.

Hernandez, who graduated from high school last week, rode a couple of days at Churchill Downs on Derby week, winning with his first Churchill mount aboard Cherokee Prospect.