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Jockey Victor Espinoza tests positive for the coronavirus

Jockey Victor Espinoza poses with American Pharoah after winning the 2015 Arkansas Derby.
(Danny Johnston / Associated Press)

Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to his agent Brian Beach. Espinoza is the third high-profile jockey to test positive in the last few days. Martin Garcia announced he was positive as did Luis Saez, who was tested at Keeneland.

Espinoza, Garcia and Saez rode at Los Alamitos over the weekend. Garcia had been riding in the Midwest, winning the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows. Saez recently raced at Belmont Park, Indiana Downs and Keeneland.

Beach said that Espinoza learned of the results Friday night after he was taken off his mounts at Del Mar as a precaution. He was tested Thursday in Orange County but because of a machine malfunction had to be retested in La Jolla on Friday.

“He had some flu-like symptoms early in the week but was feeling much better but decided to get the test just to be safe after hearing the Martin Garcia news,” Beach said in a text to The Times.

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The news is likely to get some attention at Del Mar, which had not been testing jockeys before Friday’s opening day. Later on Friday, Del Mar announced it was expanding its protocols.

In emergency meeting, the California Horse Racing Board determined Los Alamitos Race Course must address its increase in horse deaths within 10 days.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune those protocols include: “Anyone coming from out of state, or an out-state trip must test negative 72 hours before racing. Even if a jockey receives a negative test, they will be housed in auxiliary jockey room and would require a second negative test before the following weekend to rejoin main colony.”

When Santa Anita was allowed to resume racing in May, it housed all its jockeys in trailers in the parking lot during the race meeting. They were allowed to go home after the last race on Sunday but had to come back on Wednesday to be tested in order to race on Friday.

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Espinoza will not be allowed to ride for at least two weeks.


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