Jockey Rafael Bejarano, leading jockey at Del Mar a year ago, suffered multiple facial fractures today, including a broken jaw, nose and bones around his eye, in a spill on opening day at the seaside oval. He will be admitted to Scippps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla tonight and further X-rays will be taken. There was no fracture of the clavicle, an original area of concern, but further tests will be conducted because Bejarano was complaining of pain in the area.
Bejarano was riding Mi Rey, an 8-year-old gelding, in today’s third race at Del Mar when the Doug O’Neill trainee broke down at the head of the stretch and dumped the 27-year-old Peruvian. Mi Rey continued to try to run on his injured right leg until stopping in front of the winner’s circle. According to CHRB equine medical director Dr. Rick Arthur, Mi Rey suffered a compound fracture of the right front fetlock, which is similar in nature to the human ankle.
Arthur said the gelding undoubtedly made the injury worse by trying to run after he was injured. He was loaded onto the horse ambulance and there was no chance to save him. He was euthanized in the ambulance.
According to a Del Mar racing official, Bejarano’s jaw will be wired and there is a strong possibility of surgery for the facial fractures.