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John Velazquez, Belmont Stakes winning jockey, injured at Churchill Downs

Union Rags, inside, with jockey John Velazquez, defeats

Union Rags, inside, with jockey John Velazquez, defeats Paynter, with Mike Smith, in the Belmont Stakes horse race. (June 9, 2012) Credit: AP

A week after winning the Belmont Stakes on Union Rags, jockey John Velazquez suffered a broken right collarbone and a possible kidney injury at about 10:15 p.m. Saturday in a three-horse spill at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Velazquez got up after a few minutes and was strapped to a stretcher. Track spokesman Darren Rogers said Velazquez had full mobility but complained of shoulder pain before an ambulance transported him to nearby Norton Audubon Hospital, where he spent the night.

Velazquez's wife, Leona, was en route from New York to Louisville Sunday afternoon, according to a New York Racing Association release, and she confirmed her husband remained hospitalized while doctors decide on a course of treatment.

Mr. Producer was in second place when he broke down and threw Velazquez hard to the dirt about 100 yards from the finish line. The horse fell directly into the path of Smart Farda, who also went down, unseating Manny Cruz, before Lemansky stumbled over Velazquez and threw John McKee.

Mr. Producer was euthanized because of a fractured cannon bone. Rogers said the other two horses were unhurt and walked back to their barns. McKee complained of head and neck pain and took off his final two mounts of the card. Cruz rode the next race.

Velazquez was hurt 35 minutes after he and even-money favorite Wise Dan lost the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap by a head to Ron The Greek.

Mr. Producer was trained by Graham Motion, for whom Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby last year on Animal Kingdom. Velazquez, a 40-year-old native of Puerto Rico, has been one of New York’s top riders for the past 20 years. He has won more than 4,800 races and on Aug. 10 will be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs.

New York Sports