04/19/2006 11:00PM

Velazquez thrown after Keeneland win

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Pat Lang
Up an Octave was euthanized after winning the Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland on Thursday.

Joy quickly turned to horror for the connections of Up an Octave after the 3-year-old colt won the Forerunner Stakes over the Keeneland turf Thursday afternoon. About 100 yards past the finish, Up an Octave broke down in his left foreleg, tossing jockey John Velazquez on the ground and rolling over him.

Within minutes, an emergency medical crew placed Velazquez, who was conscious and moving his arms, onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. The jockey then was examined for several minutes by the track physician, Dr. Barry Schumer, who told Keeneland officials Velazquez was "awake and alert."

Schumer then sent Velazquez to the nearby University of Kentucky Medical Center for further tests and X-rays, according to track officials. A source close to the situation said that Velazquez was being examined for a possible shoulder injury.

Up an Octave, a Brahms colt owned by Vinery Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, was euthanized because of the catastrophic nature of his injury.

Shortly after the spill, Pletcher rushed to the side of Velazquez, his longtime friend and first-call rider with whom he has enjoyed enormous success in recent years. Both men were voted the Eclipse Award in their respective categories the last two years.

Before the accident, which came before 10,642 ontrack fans on an intermittently rainy afternoon, Up an Octave, always near the early pace, gamely held off challenges from several rivals in the $110,600 Forerunner. He paid $4 to win after finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.78 over a firm course.

Yate's Black Cat finished second, a half-length behind the winner and a neck before another Pletcher trainee, Tahoe Warrior.