The epidemic of serious spills at Santa Anita continued Saturday when Julie Krone, a Hall of Fame jockey, was injured at the start of the fifth race.
Krone was thrown to the ground when her mount, Sublet, stumbled leaving the gate. X-rays at Arcadia Methodist Hospital revealed two small fractures in the lumbar area of her back. Early estimates are that the 39-year-old rider will be sidelined for six weeks.
"It was very painful, and they're going to keep her overnight," said Jay Hovdey, Krone's husband. "They're going to fit her with a brace, and it will be a question of pain management after that."
Hovdey, a columnist for the Daily Racing Form, had written last week about injuries to Laffit Pincay, another Hall of Famer, and other jockeys at the Santa Anita meet. Pincay, injured in a one-horse spill March 1, narrowly avoided paralysis and is pondering retirement after being fitted with a halo cast that he must wear for at least two months.
Joe Steiner, David Flores, Victor Espinoza and Felipe Martinez have also gone down in spills. Of that group, all have returned to ride but Steiner, who has had two surgeries, including an operation that reinforced the bone that protects his right eye. He is expected to be sidelined for a long time.
"The sobering cluster of accidents at Santa Anita ... had people drawing conclusions left and right," Hovdey wrote before Krone's accident. "Was it the racetrack? Was it careless riding? Was it the alignment of Neptune and Mars?"
Two jockeys -- Matt Garcia and Tony Farina -- were suspended by the Santa Anita stewards for their roles aboard other horses in the injuries to Steiner and Pincay, but they have appealed the rulings and are riding in the meantime.
Garcia rode Kela, winner of the Saturday's $80,650 Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita.
Laffit Pincay III, the jockey's son, said Saturday that his father found the halo uncomfortable, but he was trying to continue exercising at home on his exerciser and treadmill.