Updated on 12/09/2014 10:08AM

Two horses die following eighth-race spill at Aqueduct


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Two horses died and a jockey sustained a season-ending injury Friday at Aqueduct as a result of a terrible spill during the eighth race.

Quick Money, a 7-year-old gelding, and Half Nelson, a 5-year-old gelding, suffered fatal injuries as the result of an incident that occurred in midstretch of the six-furlong race. Laila’s Jazz, a 4-year-old gelding, also went down but escaped serious injury.

However, Cornelio Velasquez, the rider of Laila’s Jazz, sustained a fractured left collarbone that will sideline him for a minimum of four weeks. Velasquez was set to begin a seven-day careless-riding suspension Saturday from an incident that occurred at Belmont Park in September.

Friday’s incident occurred when Quick Money, ridden by Angel Serpa, clipped heels after American Creed, ridden by Manuel Franco, drifted in and Sol the Freud, ridden by C.C. Lopez, came out, closing what was a narrow hole.

Quick Money went down, and Laila’s Jazz fell over him. Half Nelson, ridden by Israel Rodriguez, fell over Laila’s Jazz.

Quick Money died as a result of the impact, which caused him to break his neck. Half Nelson was vanned off but shortly thereafter was euthanized due to a fractured shoulder. Laila’s Jazz got up and ran loose before being caught by an outrider and was not reported to have suffered a serious injury.

While Velasquez was taken by ambulance to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., Rodriguez and Serpa were reported to be okay. Velasquez, who won Aqueduct’s fall-meet riding title, finishes the year as the third-leading rider on this circuit with 177 wins, trailing only Irad Ortiz Jr. and his brother, Jose.

Angel Cruz, an apprentice rider, was unseated by his mount, N.F.’s Destiny, after finishing second in the eighth race. Cruz went down again when his mount, H Man, stumbled leaving the gate at the start of the ninth race. Cruz was fine, and both N.F.’s Destiny and H Man were caught by an outrider and were reported to be okay.

Sol the Freud, who finished third, and American Creed, who finished last, in the eighth race, were both disqualified by the stewards and ordered unplaced in the order of finish.

Lopez and Franco are likely to receive suspensions for careless riding.

Quick Money, popular at the claim box, was making his 54th career start, this one for Silver Streak Stables and trainer Rudy Rodriguez. Quick Money had a record of 12-15-7 from 53 starts and earnings of $527,934.

Half Nelson, by Half Ours, had a record of 2-6-3 from 17 starts and earnings of $157,164 for West Point Thoroughbreds and trainer Tom Albertrani.

The spill capped what has been a terrible start to the inner-track meet, with four fatalities through the first three days of the meet.

On Wednesday, Princes On Thelake broke down at the quarter pole. On Thursday, Warrior’s Hero was pulled up and vanned off and had to later be euthanized after being diagnosed with three broken bones in his right knee.