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HOLLYWOOD PARK : Desormeaux Is Found to Have Hairline Fractures of His Skull


Kent Desormeaux, who was kicked in the head by a horse after being thrown near the finish of the second race Friday, was scheduled to be moved out of intensive care today at Centinela Hospital Medical Center.

A statement released by Robert Kerlan, Hollywood Park's track physician, said Desormeaux will remain hospitalized for a week, then continue his recovery at home. Kerlan also said it would be four to six weeks before Desormeaux could return to racing.

According to Gene Short, Desormeaux's agent, the jockey has four hairline fractures of the skull and six more in his face. There was also extreme concern early Saturday morning because of a broken blood vessel in Desormeaux's brain.

"He had a pretty nasty bout in the middle of the (Friday) night," Short said. "(The broken blood vessel) was causing a lot of pressure in his skull, but they were able to get it under control. I talked to Kent (Saturday) morning, and he was in good spirits.

"He has a couple of black eyes and his whole face is swollen, but the swelling's gone down from where it was Friday. If you had seen him Friday, you would never have known it was Kent Desormeaux, his face was so swollen. He looked like he had been in a fight with a truck.

"He's supposed to be moved to a private room today. Then they're going to watch him in the hospital for at least three or four days."

The injuries mean Desormeaux won't break Jose Santos' record for purses by a jockey in a year. He will finish with $14,193,006; the record, set in 1988, is $14,877,298.

Riding heavily favored Judge Hammer in Friday's second race, Desormeaux was unseated when the 3-year-old gelding, who was on his way to victory, ducked out sharply approaching the wire.

Cartagena Slew, who wound up finishing third in the $32,000 maiden claiming race, then kicked the fallen jockey in the forehead as he went by.

Fraise is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup today.

The 4-year-old Strawberry Road colt's task in the 1 1/2-mile race became easier with the scratch of Jolypha on Saturday. Trainer Bobby Frankel had expressed concern about the turf course being too soft for Jolypha, the 3-year-old daughter of Lyphard. Also, Juddmonte Farms, which owns Jolypha, reportedly wanted to give her the rest of the year off after her third-place finish behind A.P. Indy and Pleasant Tap in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Instead, Juddmonte will be represented by another 3-year-old filly, Revasser. The daughter of Riverman won the Tidal Handicap Oct. 19 at Belmont Park, beating males. Eddie Delahoussaye was scheduled to ride Revasser, but Corey Nakatani will be aboard today. Delahoussaye won't be riding the remainder of the Hollywood Park meeting. He will spend part of his time off visiting his family in New Iberia, La.

Fraise, who is owned by Madeleine Paulson, will be racing for his third Grade I victory of the year. He won the Sword Dancer at Saratoga, then upset Sky Classic in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Campagnarde, a 5-year-old mare who hasn't won in about 16 months, will race coupled with Fraise.

The other starters are Bien Bien; Tel Quel, the 2-1 second choice; and Trishyde.

Trainer Bob Baffert had to be happy when he saw the entries for the $106,300 Vernon O. Underwood. Answer Do wasn't in the field.

The California-bred gelding has been a thorn in the side of Baffert's Gundaghia. Answer Do ran down Gundaghia in the Cal Cup Sprint last month at Santa Anita, then three weeks later, came back to win again in the Hollywood Turf Express, with Gundaghia finishing third by a head.

Without his nemesis to deal with, Gundaghia won the Underwood, beating Gray Slewpy by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:09 1/5 on a windy day.

Outrun early by Gray Slewpy, Gundaghia, the 5-year-old Ole Bob Bowers gelding and 6-5 favorite, slipped through along the inside under Gary Stevens and went on to his 12th victory in 26 starts.

"He's one of those horses that, every time he runs, he gives 100%," Stevens said. "You can always count on him. He did it once again today. He showed a little different style than he has in the past. I couldn't believe I wasn't on the lead. They just flat ran away from him.

"I'd rather ride in any other bad condition than the wind. It was blowing these horses around. It's like running on a deep, heavy racetrack. It knocks them out a little bit. I think that's why you see them staggering through the lane, even though we do have a tail wind through the stretch. It takes a toll on them down the backstretch."

Cardmania, the longest shot in the field at 10-1, was third, a neck behind Gray Slewpy and 6 1/2 lengths ahead of Individualist. Kenbu was last in the field, which was reduced to five after the scratch of Light Of Morn.

Ridden by French pharmacist Jean Christoph Monnin, Please Return, the 8-5 favorite, won the Amateur Jockey Race.

Carrying a $15,000 purse, Please Return tracked the early pace set by Bering Gifts, then took over in the stretch and won by nearly three lengths in 1:45 3/5 for the 1 1/16 miles. Jean Pierre S, an 18-1 shot ridden by a nephew of Chris McCarron, was second and Bold Liloy, handled by Peter Dalby, was third.

Horse Racing Notes

Jockeys Corey Black, Adalberto Lopez and David Flores won twice Saturday. . . . Favored Star Recruit, ridden by Ron Hansen, pulled away from Siberian Summer in the stretch to win the $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby. The race, which was originally to be run on the turf, was run on a muddy main track. In winning his second race in a row, Star Recruit covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49. . . . Silver Ending ended a seven-race losing streak when he won the $55,000 Life's Hope Handicap under Goncalino Almeida.

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