Update April 23: According to a social media post from NYRA spokesman Keith McCalmont, Pablo Fragoso fractured his right arm and has been released from the hospital, while Junior Alvarado tested negative for a concussion and has also been released.
It was a rough start to the Belmont Park spring-summer meet on Thursday. About 90 minutes after Jose Ortiz was thrown from his mount in the fifth race, the program's nightcap saw three horses involved in a spill that resulted in both Junior Alvarado and Pablo Fragoso being sent to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Both incidents occurred over Belmont's Widener turf course.
In the eighth race, a maiden-claiming event going six furlongs, Sailor's Treasure with Fragoso, Sport Model with Alvarado and Undetectable with Manny Ortiz were involved in an incident near the rear of the field as the lead pack was turning into the stretch.
The chart notes Sport Model "clipped heels at the five-sixteenths [pole], then stumbled badly and unseated the rider." Undetectable then "collided" with Sport Model "and fell, but returned to his feet before subsequently walked off." It was a similar scenario for Sailor's Treasure, who "collided with the fallen foe ... and fell, but returned to his feet before also being subsequently walked off."
According to New York Racing Association spokesman Keith McCalmont, Franco also walked off under his own power and was subsequently cleared by on-site medical officials after an evaluation.
Alvarado & Fragoso are alert & being transported to local area hospital for further evaluation. Franco is cleared by first aid. https://t.co/15uK3bxQdu— Keith-TripleDeadHeat (@TripleDeadHeat) April 22, 2021
A follow-up tweet by David Grening of the Daily Racing Form said Alvarado appeared to have escaped serious injury. Mike Sellitto, Alvarado's agent, relayed that the jockey was awaiting the results a CT-Scan for a possible concussion, "but otherwise okay."
Earlier on the card, in an allowance-optional claiming turf sprint, Ortiz riding Fast Getaway was unseated as his mount appeared to take an awkward step turning into the stretch. Then the plot thickened again when what appeared to be a cardboard box blew onto the course near the wire. Quarky and jockey Trevor McCarthy were on the lead, but "altered out two paths" to avoid the impediment. Meanwhile, 1-2 favorite Maxwell Esquire was rallying and managed to surge past Quarky and win by a three-quarters of a length.