Updated on 12/09/2014 11:08AM

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.

Jerome More than 1 year ago
This is the inevitable result of stewards NOT enforcing strict riding rules. I see it at every track every day. Riders are allowed to veer in and out to try to intimidate horses. Riders are allowed to 'cut off' horses that are closing fast. Anything goes so long as there is no VIOLENT contact. What is often passed of as "race riding" is becoming more and more common and dangerous. Jockeys need to be compelled to ride a straight course whether there is danger of contact OR NOT. Riders are continually veering in to pin a horse on the rail and when the horse feels threatened and naturally pushes outward in self defense the rail horse receives the DQ. It is insane. We need stricter rules and strict enforcement including at the start of races. Too many horses are being eliminated soon after the start by veering hoses. And don't try to tell me that can't be avoided or that it is not done INTENTIONALLY.
James G Romano More than 1 year ago
In winter,in New York,you have more apprentices and other less known jockeys. Look at who`s riding at Aqueduct now and for the next few months.Some has- beens come back,Jara,as an example,who figure that they may get a few good mounts in Allowance races,where the money is.Most trainers will try bug boys hoping that the weight difference might help enough to win ,,even if a young jockey usually makes more mistakes in decisions,Not every horse goes to the front as far as he can,especially if the inner track is dead. I do not believe that track conditions cause most problems,except for the windy days,,What happens in old,crappy,slow,cold tracks like Suffolk,then[ besides running six F in 1;17 ]? Do they have as many accidents since they are near open spaces? Finger Lakes? With simulcasting,winter racing in the north east should be slowed down or interrupted for a couple of months,,after all ,how many $10,000 claiming races can you get excited about in the year 2014-15? Also going to the Aqueduct track feels like being in a homeless shelter with smells,bums and lousy food that looks like buffet leftovers.It ain`t worth the trip,parking,weather or travel,even from nearby Queens,Nassau or Suffolk. A Skeevy joint with poor line up quality,,and riding. Gotta wash my hands,again...
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Over the years I have said over and over that jockeys are ridding more carelessly and stewards have ignored this trend. I've written here that stewards decisions like the one we saw at the breeders cup are disastrous and would lead to more rough ridding and eventually to more deaths on the track. Both FRANCO AND C VELASQUEZ are on a 15 day suspension for careless ridding before this .and JOCKEY MANUEL FRANCO criticized the decision publicly and said he was going to appeal. fact is these guys constantly ride other horses instead of their own by cutting them off and even teaming up to rough ride a favorite on occasion. New York racing needs to revise a lot of its policies with regard to ethics and fair play.they have a system of bad trainers who dope bad sore horses. running for big purses ridden by bad jockeys with no regard for the rules or fairness. a sure fire recipe for disaster. The track surface on the inner is amongst the safest surfaces out there as long as its properly maintained. its a winterized surface so it should not freeze.
Ron Kokely More than 1 year ago
they need to get better judges these horses had to show some weakness before the race
Joseph D'Amelio More than 1 year ago
i have worked at aquduct for many year's an what people dont realize is it's not so much the track surface .it's the wind when breezeing horse's in morning an the wind hit's u it knock's a horse off balance an if u have a bad knee or ankle etc .it dosn't help .an at aquaduct on the turn's they should put up walls on both turn's it's to open . exspecially when a horse go's in to a turn an switche's lead's it can move u over at least a horse or two.which can also cause traffic problem's which can cause accident's.an i have seen it happen alot on windy day's .an i say again i see more horse's breaking down without the use of harmone's people dont understand there not carrying a baseball bat or football there carrying 122 pound's on there back at a speed of 40 mph. an need as much muscle strenth possible exspecailly the older horse's an gelding who are gelded to reduce harmone level .let's see how far u can run with 122 pound's on your back.am not saying load them up but it could be regulated like lasix.but that's just me
David G. More than 1 year ago
So Joseph, if weather conditions are the primary reason for all these breakdowns, why doesn't the association consider safety it's number one priority and close the facility down for a few months just like it other North Eastern counterparts?
robert bertz More than 1 year ago
Hey Anonymous, I recall things because it is called having a memory. Something You obviously do not have. If You did You would not keep making up those fantastic lies. You should probably bet the 4 horse in the 7th race Sunday at Aqueduct, it was named after You
robert bertz More than 1 year ago
Does anyone here think it is time for that lying piece of c--p anonymous t just slink away?
Peter Murphy More than 1 year ago
Perhaps jockeys should be a bit more aggressive in claiming foul for slip-shod riding tactics; if it causes ill-will in the jock's room, so be it. Their lives are at stake. As far as closing down Aqueduct in the winter months, I can't see that as a solution. Every horse isn't an allowance horse and the claiming horses have to pay there way(You probably don't want to know what happens to them when their racing days are over because they can't run anymore). However, what they should do is run lesser reces on fewer days. Why not have a one PM post time and have seven races a day for a five-day week, or even four days. This way the fans get fuller fields and the horses get more of a rest. Those who want more action can hang around for the start of the California Santa Anita action to kick in. Of course, Mr. Kay, in his myopic push for more handle, may not see it this way. But you can bet that if the horse fatalities continue as they have, Mr. Kay will have the honor of presiding over the demise of Aqueduct on his watch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you know anything about money and corruption and consequences?? You dont seem to.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Franco will get suspension for coming 3rd in the superfecta so nyra did inquiry plus will suspend him. When your boss (nyra/ aqueduct) tells you to be out of he superfecta you are supposed to listen otherwise will get suspension.