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Fifth jockey who raced at Los Alamitos tests positive for coronavirus

Flavien Prat stands on the track after a race.
Jockey Flavien Prat, who rode Country House to victory in the Kentucky Derby last year, is one of five jockeys who raced at Los Alamitos over Fourth of July weekend to test positive for the coronavirus.
(Gregory Payan / Associated Press)

Southern California’s leading jockey, Flavien Prat, has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the fifth jockey who raced at Los Alamitos on the Fourth of July weekend to contract the virus.

Prat, who raced Saturday at Keeneland in Kentucky, returned to Del Mar and underwent a test Sunday morning to confirm his eligibility to ride. He failed.

“We went to get tested at the request of Del Mar to follow protocols,” said Derek Lawson, Prat’s agent. “We went to a facility in La Jolla and stayed in the car with the throat and nose culture. Then they called and said he tested positive.

“They told him to lay low for a while and see if the symptoms get worse, but now he feels fine. He’s on a 10-day quarantine.”

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Lawson believes Prat possibly picked up the virus at Los Alamitos.

“There is no way it happened at Keeneland,” Lawson said. “It was likely something that transpired at Los Al from the last time he was riding over there. It could be some kind of hot spot, but we don’t know.”

Dr. Ed Allred, who owns and operates Los Alamitos, said he doesn’t know whether the track was the source of the outbreak.

“This is all anecdotal because we don’t know,” Allred said. “We had some riders come in from back East that had a few mounts. We take temperatures before every race as part of our protocols. …

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“We’ve given the Orange County health department all the information we have. They’ve been telling us how to handle things.”

Allred said the track has had only one positive on the backside, a 60-year-old groom six or seven weeks ago.

Prat joins Victor Espinoza, Martin Garcia, Luis Saez and quarter-horse jockey Eduard Kennis Rojas Fernandez in testing positive for the virus. All have few to no symptoms. All of the thoroughbred jockeys raced July 4, the biggest day of the Los Alamitos seven-day meeting.

Espinoza was puled from his mounts Friday on Del Mar’s opening day after he was tested that morning in La Jolla.

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“He had some flu-like symptoms early in the week but was feeling much better [and] decided to get the test just to be safe after hearing the Martin Garcia news,” Brian Beach, Espinoza’s agent, told The Times.

Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza has tested positive for the coronavirus, the third high-profile jockey to test positive in the last few days.

Garcia, who normally rides in the Midwest, came in and rode three horses at Los Alamitos on July 3 and 4 before going to Prairie Meadows on July 5. Garcia tested positive the next day at Keeneland.

Saez, who rode three horses at Los Alamitos on July 4, then went on to ride at Belmont, Indiana Grand and Keeneland before he tested positive at the Kentucky track.

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Rojas Fernandez rode three horses July 3 and two July 5 at Los Alamitos’ nighttime quarter-horse meeting. There was no nighttime racing July 4.

The news comes at a bad time for Los Alamitos after the California Horse Racing Board put the track on a 10-day probation in the wake of a spike in equine fatalities. The track has to present a plan to the CHRB by July 20.


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