Updated on 09/15/2011 12:24PM

Scary moments on a Sunday


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The Hollywood Park promotional department will be giving away those old fashioned bobble-headed dolls later in the meet, with the images of Laffit Pincay and Chris McCarron attached.

Obviously jealous, David Flores made a pitch for a doll of his own by doing a one-man Flying Wallendas in the second race on Sunday. His mount, the 2 year-old first-time starter Gold Scammer, clipped the heels of the horse on the lead and fell like a cannonball from a tall tree.

Flores whirled through the air before landing on his head. His left arm was twisted while hanging onto the rein and his lower back was jarred into the past, to the time when he suffered two broken vertebrae at Del Mar. Later, his valet displayed a helmet that was scraped and badly scratched in places that protect such cerebral functions as walking, talking, and childhood memories.

"Everyone that saw it can't believe David didn't break his neck," said Jim Pegram, Flores's agent.

In fact, it probably shouldn't have happened at all. Flores went down because Felipe Martinez, on Bully's Del Mar, began whipping his filly left-handed in the final mad dash to the wire. As she veered right, Flores tried to avoid contact, but it was too late. It took a fine piece of defensive driving by Isaias Enriquez on the trailing horse to miss the fallen rider, and the crowd delivered the appropriate gasp. When Flores got up, they cheered.

Martinez was there right away to apologize. Flores, ever the gentleman, accepted with a wince of pain.

"Babies," he said an hour later as he iced his back. "You never know with babies. I guess I was just in the wrong place." By the end of the day he was riding again.

As for Gold Scammer, she ended up flopped on her side, shocked and stunned.

"I think she just got the wind knocked out of her," said her relieved trainer, Ron Ellis, after Gold Scammer struggled to her feet and walked stiffly into the ambulance. "She was probably pretty scared."

Alex Solis said the same thing about heavily favored Separata after coming back from the five-furlong Great Lady M. Stakes one race later.

Anticipating the break, Separata plowed nose-first into the grill of the starting gate and broke through.

"She hit it hard," Solis said. "I mean real hard. It had to scare her. I know it scared me."

Separata was reloaded and ran, but her blood was already on the boil. After barreling through a half in 44.06 seconds, she had nothing left for the final push. Her collapse set it up for longshot Connate and Isaisas Enriquez, leading to the inescapable conclusion that some good deeds are rewarded immediately.

Trudy McCaffery missed the mess in the second race. She arrived at the track just as they were picking up the pieces, only to be greeted by someone who told her that Chris McCarron had just gone down. This was alarming, since McCarron is not only a good friend, he was scheduled to ride Bienamado for McCaffery and her partners John Toffan and Robert Sangster in the Whittingham Memorial Handicap later that afternoon.

McCarron was listed aboard Gold Scammer, true enough. But McCaffery's informant had neglected to note that Flores had picked up the mount after McCarron had a flight snag getting home from his ride on Balto Star in the Belmont Stakes. Chris was in the room, unpacking, when Flores went down. Did he feel like he dodged a bullet?

"Not really," McCarron replied. "You can't say with any certainty where I would have been at that point in the race. It wasn't like the filly fell on her own."

Good point. Still, McCarron conceded to cashing in a little bit of luck. The same could not be said for Gary Stevens, who also flew back that morning from the Belmont Stakes, only on a different plane - and probably at a much higher altitude. Point Given will do that to you.

Things were going fine for Stevens until the post parade for the race just before the Charlie Whittingham Memorial Handicap. That's when a rambunctious Storm Cat colt named Pride of Cats began bucking like a baby bronco, tossing Stevens around so badly that he twisted one of his famously frail knees. He tried to ride, but the damage had been done.

"At least it happened after the Belmont," Stevens said.

So ended a very strange day at the races. Stevens watched the Whittingham from the jocks' room instead of riding White Heart, his very live mount in the $350,000 race. There wasn't much he could have done about it anyway. McCarron and Bienamado took the lead turning for home and scorched the final quarter in about 23 seconds to beat Senure, Timboroa, and White Heart by 1 1/2 lengths.

"I see you caught some of the same thing I caught in New York yesterday," Stevens said when McCarron returned to the room.

McCarron paused for a second, unsure of the reference. Stevens grinned through his pain and explained.

"You found yourself on a horse who's as fast as Point Given."