Jockey Santos Chavez won the $11,000 purse in yesterday's eighth race at Laurel after paying a painful price in the first.

Chavez escaped serious injury in the opening race when his mount, Irish Irish, clipped heels in the stretch and fell. Chavez was hurled forward, rolling to a halt at the eighth-mile pole. He was removed from the track by ambulance but incurred only bruises.

Chavez had Irish Irish in fourth place at the top of the stretch, a length behind leader Diplomatic Way. But he had little room; Fine Wind, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, was in front of Irish Irish and closer to the rail, while Barkeeper (JoJo Ladner) was moving past him close on the outside.

Nearing the furlong marker, a small gap opened between Fine Wind and Barkeeper, and Chavez attempted to put Irish Irish through it. But as soon as he made his move, Fine Wind and Barkeeper came together; Irish Irish ran into them and fell. He was unhurt.

"I saw that there was room and thought I could get through," said Chavez, 22. "But there was pressure coming from the outside. When I tried to pull back on my horse, it was too late."

Un Galant, who under Donald Miller Jr. avoided the mishap by racing wide, rallied to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Barkeeper finished second but was disqualified and placed last by the stewards, who held that he precipitated Irish Irish's fall by drifting in.

"Coming through the lane, I had plenty of horse left, and I knew Santos did, too," said Ladner. "I was going to try to float Gregg McCarron's horse {Broadway Bill} out; but he didn't want me to come out on him, and I sort of bounced back into the hole Santos was trying to go through.

"I didn't really know what happened until after the race . . . I'm just glad he's okay."

Chavez was fifth astride Fill The Flask in the fifth race, then rode Glendance (8 to 1) to victory in the eighth.

"Winning that race felt pretty good," Chavez said. "But I'm real sore right now, and it's probably going to be worse tomorrow."