HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jose Alvarez demonstrated the heightened level of athleticism required of a jockey Thursday at Gulfstream Park, where the South Florida-based rider’s strength and horsemanship – against all odds – kept him from falling to the track after being unseated by his mount following the start of the third race.
After misbehaving in the No. 6 stall in the starting gate prior to the start, Exclusively Dixie stumbled at the start and veered to her inside, bumping No. 5 Zero Pitt and causing Alvarez’s right foot to come out of its iron and propelling him out of the saddle. Alvarez managed to keep his left foot in its iron and hold on to the reins as he was left dangling between the bumping horses, allowing him to somehow hoist himself back aboard Exclusively Dixie and regain his balance.
“She was real strong in the gate and not behaving. When the door opened, she jumped and kind of stumbled and threw me off,” Alvarez said. “I was able to get back and put my leg around her. I did everything I could to stay on. I didn’t know if there were horses behind us. I wasn’t going to let go. I don’t know how I stayed on. It’s instinct.”
Exclusively Dixie, who won two of 11 starts prior to Thursday’s race, recovered from the bumping to show speed during the first quarter of a mile of the six-furlong sprint before fading to finish last.