Wilson severely injured in race

Veteran jockey thrown from mount, suffers broken leg and ribs


Horse Racing

October 13, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Rick Wilson, the hard-riding veteran jockey, suffered a broken femur (thigh bone) and ribs yesterday during the fourth race at Pimlico Race Course.

His mount, Home Verse, broke a leg coming out of the final turn. Wilson was thrown to the dirt, where another horse slammed into him.

According to Wilson's agent, John Salzman Jr., Wilson broke his right femur and three ribs.

Wilson was taken by ambulance to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Last night, he was listed in serious but stable condition.

Salzman said that Wilson had suffered no internal injuries.

Home Verse, the 7-5 favorite, was euthanized. She was a small chestnut filly trying for her third win in 14 starts. Bred and owned by Allaire duPont and John Franks, Home Verse was trained by Ben Perkins Jr. and based at Delaware Park.

With 4,778 wins during a 28-year career, Wilson, 48, ranks 26th among jockeys on the all-time win list. This year, he's won 118 races, including nine with Xtra Heat, the 3-year-old filly headed to the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

John Salzman Sr., who trains Xtra Heat, said of Wilson: "You can't get a better rider. I'd rather have my money on him than any rider in the country."

Trainer Tony Dutrow, a friend and employer of Wilson, said this about the jockey: "The great ones - and I consider Rick Wilson a great one - all have a certain quality that makes them great. They have to, because there are so many excellent ones.

"What sets Rick Wilson apart? His competitiveness. He will not, like a great horse, take no for answer."

Pimlico stables update

About 200 trainers and backstretch workers from Pimlico met in a volatile session with track management yesterday over their objections to the closing in two weeks of the Pimlico stable for the winter.

Tempers flared. Richard Hoffberger, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, and Marty Jacobs, Maryland Jockey Club general counsel, engaged in a heated exchange. But nothing was settled.

Jacobs said that the MJC simply could not afford to keep Pimlico open for the winter. Horsemen and backstretch workers complained that management waited so long to notify them of the closing that they had to read about it first in last Saturday's Sun.

The horsemen agreed to select a committee to meet next week with Lou Raffetto Jr., chief operating officer of the MJC. Raffetto did not attend yesterday's meeting in the track kitchen at Pimlico because he was out of town, said Karin De Francis, MJC senior vice president of public relations and marketing.

Et cetera

Organizers of the Maryland Million envisioned a mini-Preakness when the event was moved to Pimlico because of structural damage at Laurel Park. The Pimlico infield will be open. Admission is $3. ... Of the 98 horses entered in the 11 Maryland Million races, 16 were sired by Allen's Prospect, the star stud at Country Life Farm near Bel Air. ... Jerry Robb, trainer of the versatile Lightning Paces, said that he chose the Classic over the Turf for two reasons: Lightning Paces likes the dirt better, and the Classic was an easier spot.

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