Jockey Hamilton uninjured after scary spill
by Frank Vespe
Apprentice jockey Weston Hamilton, a top contender for the Eclipse Award for leading apprentice jockey of 2018, narrowly escaped injury in a nasty spill Thursday afternoon at Aqueduct.
“Thank God, he’s OK,” said Hamilton’s agent, Simon Purdy, reached by phone. Hamilton had been scheduled to ride one race at Penn National Thursday evening but will not do so, Purdy said. But he added that he expected the 20-year-old to be able to ride Friday at Laurel Park.
Hamilton was aboard Gnarly, a three-year-old gelding trained by Gary Capuano, in the third race at the Big A, a starter allowance for horses that had run for a tag of $50,000 and had never won a race-other-than. Gnarly was 11-1 at post time.
Hamilton and his mount saved ground throughout the six-furlong contest. In mid-stretch, Consensus Thinking suffered a catastrophic injury to his left front leg and veered inwards, towards the rail. The stricken runner put Hamilton and his mount in very tight quarters, and in the process of trying to avoid Consensus Thinking, who fell directly in front of Gnarly, Hamilton was thrown to the ground.
Hamilton was able to walk off under his own power, as was Gnarly after being apprehended by the outrider. Consensus Thinking had to be euthanized, and his rider, Jose Lezcano, was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. He was alert and moving all extremities.
“He’s a little stiff but otherwise fine,” Purdy said of Hamilton. “He’s very tough.”
Hamilton leads all apprentice riders by wins in 2018 with 116. He is second in earnings with nearly $3.4 million.