Legendary jockey Willie Shoemaker was critically injured in a traffic accident Monday night, and the California Highway Patrol said he was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.
Shoemaker, 59, was westbound on State Route 30 approaching the Foothill Freeway about 8 p.m. when the accident occurred.Shoemaker's 1990 Ford Bronco II drifted over the side of the road, plunged down an embankment and rolled over several times before landing upright in the transition lanes to the southbound Foothill Freeway, CHP Officer Joe Flores said.
No other cars were involved.
Flores said the former jockey suffered a broken pelvis, a cut to his head and internal injuries. He was taken to Glendora Community Hospital where he underwent surgery Monday night. Flores described his condition as critical.
Flores said Shoemaker smelled of alcohol, and authorities suspect he had been drinking. Tests were done to to determine Shoemaker's blood alcohol content at the time of the accident, and Flores said he faces charges of misdemeanor drunken driving.
"We think he was under the influence of alcohol," Flores said.
Shoemaker won more races than any other jockey in history, including more stakes races and more races with purses of $100,000. He became the first jockey to win more than $100 million in career purses in 1985.
In 1986, at age 54, he became the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.
Shoemaker, 4-foot 11 and weighing 98 pounds, ran his first race at Golden Gate Fields on March 19, 1949 and won his first race three rides later.