Feargal Lynch suffers back and neck fractures in spill at Laurel Park in Maryland

Horse Racing Feargal Lynch jockey
Feargal Lynch: former British-based rider has won more than 500 races since moving to US.
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club

By David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

USA: Jockey Feargal Lynch is expected to miss the remainder of the summer meet at Laurel Park in Maryland after follow-up tests revealed fractures in his neck and back from a July 23 spill.

Former British champion apprentice Lynch, 42, ranked among the leading riders at the summer stand, which ends on August 22, with 12 wins and $392,398 in purse earnings. 

“We were hoping that I would be back sooner and it wouldn’t be long, because the initial X-rays showed there was nothing broken,” Lynch said on Friday. “When the CT scan and MRI scan came back,it was worse than we thought.”

Twice leading rider at Pimlico, Lynch owns 525 career North American victories and nearly $19 million in purses earned, according to Equibase statistics. He is the younger brother of Laurel-based trainer Cal Lynch.

Although he never rode a G1 winner in Europe, the jockey enjoyed his biggest success in North America on Mondialiste for trainer David O’Meara in the G1 Woodbine Mile in 2015. His richest success before then came on Michael Stoute-trained Clerkenwell in the 1996 Ebor, back in the days when he was still ‘Fergal’ rather than his current styling of ‘Feargal’ in the US.

Lynch said he suffered a condylar fracture in his neck and a wedge compression fracture in his back in his Laurel fall. Fitted with a neck and back brace, he said early estimations were that he’d miss four weeks.

“It’s just a matter of resting and taking painkillers,” he said. “I’ve just got to get through this the next few weeks, see the specialist and get back as soon as possible.”

Lynch is scheduled to visit a specialist next week. He credited Laurel Park’s on-site medical team, led by Dr. Kelly Ryan of MedStar Health, for their assistance.

“They do a fabulous job,” Lynch said. “They go above and beyond, even with the aftercare.”

Lynch was unseated during the third race on July 23 when his mount Epitomize clipped heels and fell leaving the backstretch of the 1m1f allowance contest for 3-year-olds and up. Horse and rider were sent to the ground, and both eventually walked off the track before Lynch went to the hospital for X-rays.

“The horse in front pulled out in front of me and my horse lost his balance and went down very quick,” Lynch said. “He didn’t have a chance to get out of the way.”

• Visit the Maryland Jockey Club’s Laurel Park website

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