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Horse racing-Jockey Velazquez has emergency surgery


By Mark Lamport-Stokes

ARCADIA, California, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Top jockey John Velazquez had emergency surgery on Saturday to remove his spleen after he suffered internal bleeding following an accident during a race at the Breeders' Cup.

Velazquez was riding Secret Compass in the first event of the afternoon at Santa Anita Park, the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, when he and his horse fell as they approached the final turn.

Secret Compass was later euthanised after being diagnosed with "a lateral condylar fracture with dislocation" while Velazquez was taken to the nearby Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena to be checked.

According to his manager, Velazquez was about to be released from hospital when it was discovered he had internal bleeding. He was then scheduled for surgery.

Velazquez, a 41-year-old from Puerto Rico, has won 12 Breeders' Cup races during his career and had been scheduled to ride in all nine races on Saturday.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert expressed his sadness over the loss of Secret Compass, after another of his horses, New Year's Day, had won the $2 million Juvenile.

"When you lose a horse like that, it just took all the wind out of our sails," Baffert said.

"These horses are so close to us ... I've never had something like that happen on a big day. We're all still in shock." (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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