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Luis Saez and Victor Espinoza among jockeys to test positive for Covid-19

Leading American jockeys Luis Saez and Victor Espinoza have tested positive for Covid-19 and been stood down from riding duties. 

Saez had finished second in a $70,000 maiden special weight race at Keeneland's meeting on Friday when he was found to have tested positive. He was subsequently taken off his remaining rides and asked to vacate the premises.

Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza was removed from Del Mar on Friday, with agent Brian Beach reporting him to have had flu-like symptoms earlier in the week.

Keeneland has stringent protocols in place for the meeting after its traditional run in April was cancelled because of the pandemic. Riders coming in need to show they have had a clean test within the past five days or be tested. Saez was tested on Thursday, and the results were made available the following day.

Saez, who ranks fifth in the jockeys' standing by earnings, rode at Indiana Grand, which featured the Indiana Derby and Indiana Oaks, on Thursday. 

"We tested everybody who rode in Indiana yesterday," said Vince Gabbert, Keeneland's vice president and chief operating officer. "As soon as we got the results back and found out about the positive, he removed all of his tack and we cleaned and sanitised the area.

"Fortunately, we had set up four different jockeys' rooms and have everybody spaced out. We had the Indiana guys set up in a different area, and everybody has been socially distancing and obeying all of the protocols we have set up."

"Everybody who has come in has provided a negative test within the last five days or has been tested before they came on the grounds. We feel confident we have the proper protection for [riders] and for everyone around them."

Another jockey who has ridden actively in Kentucky this spring and summer, Martin Garcia, was also removed from his rides at Indiana Grand on Wednesday after he tested positive in Kentucky.

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