By Bill Finley
According to his agent, Derek Lawson, top California rider Flavien Prat has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Because he left California to ride Saturday at Keeneland, Prat was required to take a test Sunday before being allowed to ride at Del Mar. The test results were positive and Prat had to take off all his mounts.
“These athletes, they know their bodies,” Lawson said. “When I picked him up at the airport, he said, ‘I think I have it.'”
Lawson said that Prat is feeling fine and will return to his home in the Los Angeles area to wait out the quarantine period.
Along with Victor Espinoza, Martin Garcia and Luis Saez, Prat becomes the fourth jockey who rode on the July 4 card at Los Alamitos to test positive. For Saez, it cost him the mount on Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) in Saturday’s GII San Diego H. He will be replaced by Abel Cedillo, but trainer Bob Baffert told the Daily Racing Form that Saez will regain the mount once his quarantine period is over.
Prat, who was the leading rider at the 2019 summer meet at Del Mar, will also lose several important mounts and Lawson was quick to blame Los Alamitos for his predicament.
“All of this transpired at Los Alamitos,” Lawson said. “They were so careful at Santa Anita and then at Los Alamitos it was like the wild, wild west. They let everything get out of hand. We only went over there to ride Bellafina and for Baffert. They didn’t do anything. It was like, ‘Come on in, everyone is welcome.’ After how well everything went at Santa Anita, what a shame.”