Positive Spirit falls out of the gate at the start of Kentucky Oaks

LOUISVILLE – The Kentucky Oaks took a frightening turn right at the start when Positive Spirit took a fall.

The filly, running out of the No. 6 post, was squeezed between Flor de La Mar and Jaywalk in posts No. 5 and No. 7, then clipped heels with Jaywalk. Positive Spirit dramatically stumbled to the dirt track, but got back on her feet.

Jaywalk, who had finished sixth, was disqualified for "coming in and taking the path" of Positive Spirit.

Jockey Manny Franco fell off of the horse. Neither the horse nor jockey was seriously injured in the fall, according to veterinarian Alan Ruggles of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Franco said afterward that he was "OK." 

Positive Spirit dumps Manuel Franco just after the start of the 145 Running of the Kentucky Oaks.
May 3, 2019 (Photo: By Michael Clevenger and Kelly Estep/Courier Journal)

Ruggles said Positive Spirit, trained by Rodolphe Brissett, might have suffered a soft tissue injury and skin lacerations, but she was able to walk back to the barn without difficulty. 

Horse down just out of the gate at the #KyOaks. @courierjournalpic.twitter.com/XV5m6l89AV

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The 1-1/8 mile Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-olds was won by Serengeti Empress, followed by Liora and Lady Apple.

Serengeti Empress trainer Tom Amoss said he was distracted by Positive Spirit's fall and for the first few moments, kept his eyes on her and Franco. Once he saw them both get up, he again turned his attention to his own horse, who took to the winner's circle moments later.

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