11/11/2016 12:00PM

Valdivia sustains leg and back injuries in multiple-horse spill

Churchill Downs/Coady Photography
Jose Valdivia Jr. will be out of action indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair multiple fractures.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. underwent surgery Friday at University Hospital in Louisville for fractures of his left tibia and fibula after being injured in a scary multiple-horse spill during the fourth race Thursday at Churchill Downs.

Renee Valdivia, the jockey’s wife, said a rod and screws were to be inserted to stabilize the damage in the lower leg in what doctors described as routine procedure. Valdivia also has a very minor fracture in an upper vertebra that will heal on its own, she added.

“We feel very fortunate it’s nothing worse,” she said.

Valdivia fell suddenly when his mount, Millenial, broke down near the three-eighths pole when leading a full field of maidens in a 1 1/16-mile turf race. Two trailing horses, Exit Laughing (Shaun Bridgmohan aboard) and American Sea (Ricardo Santana Jr.) could not avoid the stricken horse and fell over him, throwing their jockeys.

Bridgmohan was experiencing upper-body soreness and took off the remainder of his Thursday mounts, although he was out working the stable area Friday morning trying to determine whether he could ride later in the day. Santana returned Thursday to win with his next mount, Congrats Honey in the sixth race.

One other jockey, Corey Lanerie, was thrown from his mount, Irish Proud, in the incident but was not injured. Lanerie wheeled right back to win the fifth race with Copus.

Millenial, a 2-year-old Speightstown colt trained by D. Wayne Lukas, had to be euthanized with a catastrophic injury. The colt was a $400,000 yearling purchase for Robert Baker and William Mack. No other horses were seriously injured, according to chief steward Barbara Borden.

Valdivia, 41, was the leading jockey this summer at Arlington Park and was planning to ride at Fair Grounds this winter. He will recuperate from his injuries with his family in South Florida. A winner of nearly 1,500 races, Valdivia is best known for winning the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile on Val Royal and the 2011 Belmont Stakes with Ruler On Ice.