Updated on 08/18/2012 1:37PM

Saratoga: Jackson Bend not seriously injured in training accident

Barbara D. Livingston
Jackson Bend rests in his stall after being involved in a Saturday morning training accident.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Two-time Grade 1 winner Jackson Bend apparently escaped serious injury after being run into by the 7-year-old gelding Little Nick during a frightening training mishap which took place on the Oklahoma training track shortly after 7 a.m. on Saturday. Jackson Bend was preparing to defend his title in the Grade 1 Forego Handicap on Sept. 1.

According to exercise rider Carlos Correa, he and Jackson Bend were nearing the completion of a routine gallop when Little Nick suddenly darted onto the track from the gap located near the six-furlong pole. Correa said he heard warning shouts from other riders and onlookers but before he could do anything, he was broadsided by the other horse, the force of the impact knocking he and the diminutive Jackson Bend to the ground.

Jackson Bend lay nearly motionless on the track for more than five agonizing minutes while shocked onlookers feared the worst. Fortunately, Jackson Bend was finally able to struggle to his feet. He was then taken by horse ambulance back to trainer Nick Zito’s barn.

“I was galloping him like I always do, two, three lengths off the rail and this guy just came out from the gap,” said Correa, who was shaken but uninjured in the incident. “They gave me a heads-up warning but there was nothing I can do,

“Jackson went right over. He got his wind knocked out. I was disgusted because I feel bad for him and he’s been training unbelievable, that horse. He’s been training like a monster and then this thing had to happen to him.”

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Once back in his stall, Jackson Bend underwent an extensive examination by Dr. Joe Migliacci, whose prognosis several hours later was that Jackson Bend should be just fine.

“He took a blow to the side, I’m not sure if it was ribs or lung or shoulder,” said Migliacci. “We first took him two turns and looked at his legs for anything broken after he got off the ambulance. He was just in shock. We gave him some anti-inflammatories and ran plenty of fluids through him.  I’m concerned he might have some contusion in his lung from the blow on the side but there’s no way for us to tell until we do an ultra-sound in a few days. It appears he’s going to be okay.”

Zito had just begun to head over to the main track to watch two of his other horses work at the time of the mishap and did not witness the collision.

“I was on my way to the main track and I heard all the yelling behind me and I ran into Seth Benzel and he told me somebody ran into my horse,” said Zito. “So I get over there and I see Jackson lying on the ground. Thank God I was going the other way. I would have gone wacky if I’d seen it. And thank God he got up.”

Zito said that at the moment his last thought is about the Forego, a race Jackson Bend won by more than three widening lengths last summer. 

“I’m just happy the horse is okay and Carlos is okay, that’s number one,” said Zito. “The horse could have died. Carlos could have died. Right now the important thing is for Jackson Bend to get some rest and get back to normal.”

Anthony Quartarolo, who trains Little Nick, said his horse was spooked by something as he was walking onto the track and then bolted into Jackson Bend but that he did not sustain any injuries.