While Chris McCarron watched on a TV set from the jockeys' room with an ice pack on his right shoulder, replacement Eddie Delahoussaye rode Marlin to a half-length win Sunday in the $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita.
Delahoussaye took over on Marlin after McCarron, in his second frightening spill in three weeks, went down when his mount, Debutant Trick, clipped heels and fell in the stretch of the $156,850 San Simeon Handicap, which was run three races before the 'Capistrano.
McCarron, removed from the track on a stretcher, was taken to nearby Arcadia Methodist Hospital, where X-rays were negative. He returned in time to watch Marlin's victory, which was worth $24,000 to Delahoussaye as the jockey's customary 10% cut of the winning purse.
Last month, two days after his 42nd birthday, McCarron suffered three bruised ribs when his mount, Inexcessivelygood, went down in the Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park. Inexcessivelygood was destroyed.
More fortunate, Debutant Trick got up, ran around the track and an outrider safely returned him to the unsaddling area.
"If these things come in threes," McCarron said, "I hope I get it over with and fall down and cut my head going home tonight."
He hopes the swollen shoulder won't prevent him from returning to action when Hollywood Park opens Friday night.
Delahoussaye returned to the jockeys' room after the 'Capistrano and headed straight for McCarron, to check his condition.
"[The spill] was unfortunate, but it gave me a great opportunity," Delahoussaye said. "That Chris is all right is the main thing. You never want to see anybody get hurt. I saw how Chris rode this horse [in winning the San Luis Rey Stakes] last time, and the horse was kind for him. I knew if the horse relaxed again, he'd be tough."
Earlier, there was more drama in the jockeys' room when Corey Nakatani, whose mount, Destiny's Venture, came in and crowded Debutant Trick near the fence in the downhill turf race, apologized to McCarron.
"Corey was pretty upset," McCarron said. "To the point where he didn't have the desire to go out and ride some more. I've been in that position, and I asked him to ride a race for me. The best way to get over something like that is to go out and win another race."
Nakatani did just that, winning the ninth race with Yankee Castle.
Marlin, owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Wayne Lukas, outfinished Sunshack, who was two lengths better than third-place finisher African Dancer.
Sunshack, sent off the even-money favorite with his entrymate, Bon Point, also finished second to Marlin in the San Luis Rey on March 23. Marlin paid $7.60 to win Sunday. His time of 2:44 2/5 for the grass distance of about 1 3/4 miles is not considered a track record because the 'Capistrano is now run at a distance 94 feet shorter than it used be.
Sandtrap was the winner of the San Simeon, giving trainer Ben Cecil stakes victories at Santa Anita on consecutive days. Destiny's Venture, the second-place finisher by a half-length to Sandtrap, was disqualified by the stewards to last place in the five-horse field for causing interference that led to Debutant Trick and Chris McCarron going down.
Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey David Flores swept the $250,000 stakes at the new Dallas-area Lone Star Park on Sunday as Isitingood won the Texas Mile and Anet was victorious in the Lone Star Derby.
Isitingood, who went off at 17-10, led almost all the way as Spiritbound finished second, three lengths back. Skip Away, winless in three starts this year, was third at 3-5. Isitingood's time was 1:34 2/5.
Anet probably earned his way into the Kentucky Derby with his 2 1/4-length win over Frisk Me Now. Holzmeister, the 2-1 favorite, was third, a neck behind Frisk Me Now. Baffert already has a certain Derby starter in Silver Charm. Anet, the third choice, paid $7.80.
At Keeneland, another California shipper, Touch Gold, won the $175,000 Lexington Stakes, but his trainer, David Hofmans, indicated their next race would be the Preakness on May 17. Touch Gold, at 3-1 and with Gary Stevens aboard, defeated favored Smoke Glacken by 8 1/2 lengths.
Although Deeds Not Words ran third, beaten by 11 1/2 lengths, Lukas did not rule out the Derby and even reopened the door for his filly, Sharp Cat, to run on May 3.