Fifth jockey who raced at Los Alamitos tests positive

John Cherwa
Los Angeles Times (TNS)
Thoroughbred horses bolt out of the starting gate in the first race at Los Alamitos Race Track on July 3, 2014 in Los Alamitos, California. The California Horse Racing Board has called an emergency meeting to discuss shutting down Los Alamitos Race Course temporarily.

LOS ANGELES - 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.

A message to Derek Lawson, Prat's agent, was not returned.

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

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

"He had some flulike 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 Los Angeles Times.

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 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.

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.

Los Alamitos did not respond to a request for comment.