Irad Ortiz Jr. Horse Jockey Miraculously OK ... After Horrifying In-Race Fall

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was thrown off his horse and kicked in the head by another during a race Thursday ... but somehow, the dude miraculously avoided serious injuries.

The rider's agent, Steve Rushing, announced the good news on Friday ... saying that despite the horrifying fall, Ortiz Jr. will only need to miss a couple weeks from his job.

"He said he felt better today, than he did last night," Rushing told Daily Racing Form. "I told him I don’t know what brand of helmet you have, but make sure you get another one."

Rushing added Ortiz Jr. needed 6 stitches in his head and 5 in his arm ... but is expected to make a full recovery in a matter of days.

It's all quite frankly incredible, given just how gnarly the accident was.

Footage from the track showed as Ortiz Jr. was coming down the stretch ... his horse stumbled and bucked the rider to the ground.

When Ortiz Jr. hit the dirt, he was then kicked in the head by a trailing horse ... and ultimately needed to be stretchered off the track.

Ortiz Jr. was set to ride Known Agenda in Saturday's Belmont Stakes ... but he'll miss the event now. A replacement rider has not yet been named.

Get well soon!

NHL's Mark Scheifele Stop Harassing My Family Over Cheap Shot Hit on Jake Evans

KEEP MY FAMILY OUT OF THIS
Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets superstar Mark Scheifele says his family is being targeted by angry fans upset with his cheap shot hit on Jake Evans ... and he's begging for them to stop.

Scheifele just received a 4-game suspension for taking out the Montreal Canadiens forward in Game 1 of their playoff series earlier this week.

The hit knocked Evans unconscious -- and was widely condemned by hockey fans and players alike who say Scheifele viciously targeted a defenseless player in a compromised position.

On Friday morning, Scheifele finally spoke to the media about the suspension -- saying he will NOT appeal the 4-game ban because he does not want to be a distraction to his team.

But, he also revealed his family has been harassed non-stop since the Wednesday incident ... and he's very upset about it.

"I'm a big boy. I signed up for this. I can handle this," Scheifele said ... "But, to put my parents, brother and sister, my loved ones through this, is unacceptable."

He continued, "I got held accountable. But, there's no right to go after my parents and my loved ones."

Scheifele says he's praying for Evans -- and hopes he can make a full and speedy recovery.

Evans suffered a concussion on the play -- and so far no update on when he's expected to return.

Game 2 of the Jets vs. Canadiens series is Friday night -- we'll see if the league's punishment is enough to stop vigilante justice on the ice.

Greg Olsen Son Finds Donor Match For Heart Transplant ... 'Huge Step Forward'

Amazing news for Greg Olsen and his family ... the former NFL star says his 8-year-old son, TJ, has found a donor match for his heart transplant!

The 36-year-old tight end made the announcement on his social media page Friday morning, calling the news "a huge step forward."

"A day we have prayed for has arrived," Olsen said while posting a picture of him smiling with TJ and his wife, Kara.

"We were alerted last night that there was a donor match for TJ to receive his heart transplant. Walking our little boy, with tears of hope and fear in our eyes, was one of the toughest moments of our lives."

Olsen added, "We ask for everyone’s prayers for TJ and his amazing team of doctors and nurses. TJ has a long road ahead of him but today is a huge step forward."

As we previously reported, TJ was hospitalized last month in North Carolina with a serious heart condition.

Olsen said it was all very terrifying, 'cause TJ "has already undergone 3 open heart surgeries and has survived with a modified heart for his first 8 years of life."

It's unclear when TJ will have his operation ... but he's already got at least one big NFL star rooting for him -- Julian Edelman tweeted to Olsen on Friday, "Thoughts are you with your little one today bubs."

You got this, TJ!

JoJo Siwa Pride Party's Scary Turn ... Cops Called for Guest's Possible OD

JoJo Siwa's extravagantly fun Pride Party took a dark turn when cops were called for a possible overdose.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... cops and paramedics responded to the call to JoJo's home in the San Fernando Valley a little after 8 PM Wednesday. We're told someone reported a male around 30 years old might have OD'd on LSD.

Sources connected to the party claim the guy showed up to the party high, and in pretty rough shape. We're told the person was transported to the hospital, and police determined there was no crime committed.

That person's health status is unclear at this time. We've reached out to Siwa's rep for more ... no word back so far.

PARTYING PROUDLY

As we reported ... JoJo threw a huge rainbow-themed bash at her house attended by her GF and a bunch of fellow influencers, including Tana Mongeau. The party featured a bounce house, a decked-out pool and kitchen, a bedazzled piano and a whole lot more.

Unfortunately, it seems one person took the fun way too far.

WWE's Alexa Bliss Pet Pig Death Inspires Rescue Mission ... No Animal Should Suffer!

LARRY-STEVE'S LEGACY
TMZSports.com

WWE superstar Alexa Bliss is still mourning the death of her beloved pet pig -- but will honor his memory by making sure no other animal suffers the way he did.

As we previously reported, Alexa's pig, Larry-Steve, suffered a medical emergency last week -- but she could not find a veterinarian in her area who would treat the animal.

Due to the lack of medical care, Larry-Steve died ... one day before his 4th birthday.

Alexa tells TMZ Sports she's still very shaken up by the whole situation -- but now feels motivated to save other animals in similar situations.

"We just know that, unfortunately, there's not enough vets that are able to treat pigs or any tools to be able to help larger animals," Bliss told us at LAX.

Bliss says she's been contacted by a bunch of animal owners who experienced similar issues with their larger non-traditional pets and she feels compelled to help.

So far, Bliss says she's raised more than $16,000 for a pig rescue in Florida and will name it after her late pet.

"They're building an insulated pig house for the winter and it's gonna be called The House Larry-Steve Built."

Alexa says she's not sure if she'll get another pet pig -- she's still in a lot of emotional pain -- but will stay deeply involved in the animal community.

"I would love to keep rescuing animals and pigs specifically because they are so emotionally smart. They have the learning capability and understanding of a 3-year-old child. They can feel grief and they can cry real tears."

"People don't know that they're actually super emotional and super smart. I'm fascinated by pigs and loved having Larry around."

NHL's Jake Evans Stretchered Off Ice After 'Dirty' Hit ... Teammate Calls Play 'Disgusting'

Canadiens player Jake Evans was forced to leave the ice on a stretcher Wednesday after a violent hit ... and his teammates are now calling the play both "dirty" and "disgusting."

The incident all went down late in the third period of Game 1 of Montreal's playoff series with Winnipeg ... when Evans scored a wraparound, empty-net goal.

Immediately after the puck crossed the red line, though, he was demolished by Jets player Mark Scheifele ... and Evans hit the ice HARD.

You can see in footage of the play, Evans landed face first ... and laid motionless on the ice while Canadiens players raced in to defend him.

While Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme said Evans did NOT need a trip to the hospital, Ducharme did say Evans still needed to undergo further evaluation after the Canadians' 5-3 win.

And, Evans' teammates were NOT happy about any of it ... even though Scheifele was hit with a penalty and ejected.

Forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi told reporters after the game the hit was "disgusting" ... while defenseman Joel Edmundson called it a "dirty" move.

"If he gets back in the series," Edmundson said of Scheifele, "we're going to make his life miserable."

Game 2 of the series kicks off in Winnipeg on Friday night.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics 10,000 Volunteers Quit Over COVID Concerns ... 50 Days to Games

Another major blow for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ... nearly 10,000 volunteers have QUIT over COVID fears just 50 days before the Games are set to begin.

The number of people who just opted out represents 1/8th of the 80,000 unpaid volunteers who signed up to work the event, which is still set to kick off on July 23.

As we previously reported, there is serious backlash in Japan about hosting the Olympics -- considering only about 2 to 3% of the population is vaccinated ... and the country reported a surge in cases in May.

In fact, officials extended a State of Emergency in Japan to June 20 because hospitals and other medical care facilities in major cities are being pushed to the brink.

There have been protests in the streets of Tokyo recently from people concerned the Games will serve as a superspreader event.

There are also reports out of Japan showing 80% of Japanese citizens are AGAINST the Olympics beginning on July 23, as currently scheduled.

Still, Olympics officials have reiterated the Games WILL go on as planned.

Be safe, everyone.

Tekashi 6ix9ine's Baby Mama Here's My New Body After Plastic Surgery Scare

Tekashi 6ix9ine's baby mama is on the up and up after her plastic surgery scare down in Colombia ... she's back in the States, showing off her mommy makeover.

69's baby mama, Sara Molina, is almost fully recovered from her recent Brazilian butt lift and a 360 liposuction, according to her manager ... and these photos snapped Tuesday show the fruits of her plastic surgeon's labor.

We're told Sara, who has Multiple sclerosis, still has a bit of bruising ... but her body feels great and she's finally getting over her severe MS flare-up, thanks in part to her massage routine.

As we first told you ... Sara's body had a severe reaction to the surgeries. She was in extreme pain due to her MS and couldn't even lie flat while recovering at Lluxe Recovery facility in Colombia, even needing a special recliner.

Now that she's feeling better, we're told Sara's taking driving lessons in Orlando to get her first driver's license -- she lives in NYC and didn't drive before -- and she's gearing up to launch her own line of CBD products.

We're told Sara used CBD to help relieve pain and inflammation from her MS flare-ups post-op ... and now she's looking to cash in herself.

Medina Spirit Kentucky Derby Drug Test Confirmed Dirty Baffert Suspended For 2 Yrs.

1:20 PM PT -- Churchill Downs just released a scathing statement announcing they've suspended legendary trainer Bob Baffert for 2 years ... saying his horses repeated drug violations "threatens public confidence" in horse racing.

“Reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated," Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said.

"Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility.”

The suspension -- which extends to Baffert and all of his trainers -- will conclude following the 2023 season.

The results are in ... again ... confirming Medina Spirit did have a BANNED SUBSTANCE in his system when he won the Kentucky Derby.

Remember, Medina Spirit tested positive in the days following the May 1 event -- but trainer Bob Baffert had called for people to chillax until the 2nd sample (known as a split sample) came back from the labs.

Well, now the split sample has been analyzed at the University of California, Davis and it DID come back positive for betamethasone, a banned substance in horseracing ... this according to Bob Baffert's lawyer.

"In response to the inquiries, this will acknowledge that the Medina Spirit split sample confirmed the findings of betamethasone at 25 picograms," attorney Craig Robertson said in a statement.

FYI, betamethasone is a corticosteroid that can be used to numb joint pain in horses, which (in theory) can help them race better.

"There is other testing that is being conducted, including DNA testing. We expect this additional testing to confirm that the presence of the betamethasone was from the topical ointment, Otomax, and not an injection."

Baffert -- the most famous trainer in racing history -- has denied intentional wrongdoing ... saying he believes Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone after innocently taking a medication prescribed by a respected veterinarian.

"At the end of the day, we anticipate this case to be about the treatment of Medina Spirit's skin rash with Otomax. We will have nothing further to say until the additional testing is complete," Robertson added.

Now, it's very possible Medina Spirit will be formally disqualified from the Kentucky Derby, nullifying his victory.

Originally Published -- 8:11 AM PT

Henry 'Nacho' Laun 'Wahlburgers' Star Dead at 54

Henry "Nacho" Laun -- the extreme eating star of "Wahlburgers" and one of Mark Wahlberg's OG entourage members -- has died after suffering a medical emergency a couple weeks ago ... TMZ has learned.

Sources close to Laun tell us he passed away Tuesday at a Massachusetts hospital.

We broke the story ... the reality star was on a road trip from Boston to Cape Cod in mid-May when he was found unconscious in his vehicle at a gas station.

Our sources say it's still unclear what caused his medical emergency, but after Laun was transported to the hospital his condition did not improve. We're told he was unresponsive and placed on life support because he couldn't breathe on his own.

We're also told family and friends had a glimmer of hope, as Nacho was showing signs of recovery in recent days -- but he took a final turn for the worse.

Laun was a fan favorite on "Wahlburgers" known for never shying away from an eating challenge and of course, for being Mark's buddy.

His attorney and friends have organized a GoFundMe to help with funeral costs.

Laun's attorney, James Neyman, declined to comment.

Laun was 54.

RIP

NBA's LaMarcus Aldridge Battling Depression In Retirement 'Trying To Find Myself'

Ex-NBA star LaMarcus Aldridge says he's struggling in his post-basketball life ... admitting he's been depressed since abruptly retiring due to a health condition.

Remember, 35-year-old Aldridge walked away from the sport back in April ... after a health scare involving his heart following a game against the L.A. Lakers.

As it turns out, the 7-time All-Star played his entire 15-year career with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which causes a rapid heartbeat.

Aldridge says he learned about the condition back in 2006 but was able to play a decade and a half without any major issues. However, after his "scary night" against the Lakers, he realized it was time to retire.

"My heart was beating different or as weird as it has ever been before. I never experienced how slow, fast … it was just crazy how it was going that night," Aldridge told The Athletic's Shams Charania.

"Basically, that night being so freaked out -- and knowing I have kids, my mom, a lot of people depending on me and a lot of people that I want to see going forward -- I just felt like I was blessed by God to play 15 years with this condition, and I didn’t want to push it anymore."

Aldridge says he's had a tough time adjusting to life away from basketball ... which has taken a toll on his mental health.

"I’ve been depressed, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate through not competing on the floor, learning not to be depressed."

"I still love basketball. I still feel like I have a lot to give. But, even now, I’m still trying to find myself. When you go from doing something you love for so long and you lose it overnight, it’s a shock."

Despite the hardships he's faced, Aldridge says he knew he made the right decision ... and the Brooklyn Nets and his teammate Kevin Durant were supportive in his choice.

"I never felt any pressure to come back or make a decision based on the season. It was always: We fully understand what you’re going through, and so if this is what you want to do, you have our support."

Aldridge was the #2 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft ... and spent the majority of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs before joining the Nets in 2021. He finished his career with nearly 20,000 points and 8,500 rebounds.

'Flipping Out' Star Jeff Lewis The Eyes Have It!!! Says Eyelid Surgery Recovery's Going Well

Jeff Lewis has nothing to flip out about following cosmetic surgery to his eyelids ... because he seems to be having a blast documenting his totally chill recovery.

The "Flipping Out" star shared a couple of, umm ... unique looks over the holiday weekend as he's recuperating from the procedure to his lower eyelids.

The first one where he's resting on the couch with frozen peas on his eyes as his daughter tends to him. Jeff captioned the photo, "Recovery is going well."

Then on Monday, Jeff posted a "Day 3 of Recovery" pic of himself lounging on his patio with most of his face still wrapped in gauze ... but wearing shades. He paired it with Sheryl Crow's "Soak Up the Sun."

Last week on his SiriusXM radio show, Lewis explained that the "fat repositioning" eyelid surgery should make him look more youthful and rested.

He said, "This is kind of a cutting-edge procedure. Normally, they'll suck out the fat, but this doesn't require folding of the skin or stitching or pulling. They go inside my eye lid but it doesn't change the shape of your eye."

All that being said, Jeff added ... "It's not like a huge, big difference."

We'll see soon!

Washington Football Team Hires Doctor to Focus on Player Mental Health ... 'Develop a Culture of Wellness."

The Washington Football Team is taking player mental health seriously ... hiring the organization's first full-time Director of Wellness to "proactively work on [the players'] mental wellbeing."

The team announced Monday the hiring of Dr. Barbara Roberts -- a full-time clinician with a Ph.D. in psychology who has previously served in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as a Senior Policy Analyst and Coordinator for Health Policy.

Dr. Roberts "brings an extensive history of experience with professional athletes and looks forward to this opportunity to enhance the NFL Total Wellness mission," the team said in a statement.

According to the WFT, Dr. Roberts is tasked with brining a "proactive approach to handling mental health ... focusing on the development of a foundation for mental wellness and its impact on overall health and performance."

Her program will include "daily mental wellness work and will allow players to proactively work on their mental wellbeing."

Dr. Roberts commented on the new gig -- saying, "I look forward to this opportunity to enhance the NFL Total Wellness mission."

"I will focus on the development of a foundation for mental wellness and its impact on overall health and performance. I am deeply appreciative to Dan and Tanya Snyder and Coach Rivera for this tremendous opportunity to further develop a culture of wellness."

Naomi Osaka Withdraws from French Open ... Reveals Depression Amid Media Controversy

3:22 PM PT -- French Open officials say they are "sorry and sad" for Osaka following her decision to withdraw from the tourney, but they wish her the "best and the quickest possible recovery" ... and hope she's back next year.

FFT President Gilles Moretton adds ... "We remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always strived to do."

Naomi Osaka's decided to withdraw from the French Open and "take some time away from the court" rather than continue to be a distraction for her stance against speaking to the press ... the star tennis player just announced herself.

Naomi says she never intended to ignite a controversy when she cited mental health for skipping media conferences a few days ago, but she believes the best thing for her to do now is quit the tourney so "everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris."

Osaka goes on to explain that she's introverted and suffers from social anxiety, and reveals suffering from "long bouts of depression" since the 2018 U.S. Open and says she has struggled with coping.

Essentially, she's implying that her personal mental health struggles were her reason for skipping press conferences this tourney ... but she acknowledges her announcement created a distraction and will be better left addressing later on.

For that reason, Naomi says she's stepping away from tennis for now but when the timing is better ... she wants to "work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans."

As we reported ... Osaka was fined $15k after her opening-round win for her no-show at the post-match presser, and was at risk of more fines or even disqualification if she kept it up.

In her withdrawal announcement, Naomi also makes it clear she has no beef with the tennis press that has "always been kind to me" ... and apologizes to any journalists she may have hurt.

Originally Published -- 11:41 AM PT

'Botched' Star Terry Dubrow Back Away From Brazilian Butt Lift ... This Could Kill You!!!

BEWARE THE BUTT LIFT
TMZ.com

Dr. Terry Dubrow says folks who want a bigger butt need to work their ass off in the gym instead of opting for a popular surgical procedure ... that actually has a good chance of killing you!!!

The "Botched" surgeon joined us on "TMZ Live" and schooled us on the dangers of the well-known Brazilian butt lift, telling us why he's NOT recommending it to his patients.

It's pretty scary ... the good doc says the BBL is the most dangerous surgery you can undergo, as far as mortality rate, and he tells us exactly why the fat transfer so often goes fatally wrong.

The BBL has been around for a long time, but Terry says folks are not being adequately warned about the dangers ... despite many doctors' wishes for the industry to sound the alarm.

As we first told you ... Tekashi's baby mama recently had a BBL and ended up having a medical scare. Based on Dr. Dubrow's warnings, sounds like she dodged a bullet.

You can see the full interview on Monday's "TMZ Live" (check local listings).

Lil Yachty So Ready for Live Shows Again ... And About That Cardi/Nicki Beef ...

LIL BOAT BACKFLIPS INTO SUMMER '21
TMZ.com

Lil Yachty's so pumped for live music festivals to make their return this summer ... he's ready to dive backflip right in.

The rapper says the absence of in-person concerts over the past year has been really tough, so just the thought of taking the stage with a packed crowd gets his blood pumping.

Yachty -- who's set to perform at Portugal's Rolling Loud festival in July and at Chicago's Summer Smash in August -- tells us the connection he gets with his fans at a live show is unique ... and he expects the energy to be 50 times as intense after the long COVID break.

OCTOBER 2018
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
BET

The hip-hop star also weighed in on one of hip-hop's biggest feuds over the past few years -- one in which he landed smack dab in the middle of ... and is still trying to do damage control.

LY reminds us why he sided with Cardi B over Nicki Minaj back in 2018, but explains why it's not nearly as controversial as it's been made out to be ... or at least that's how he sees it.

Watch the video though ... sounds like Nicki's still not over it.

For the full interview with Lil Yachty, tune in to "TMZ Live" Friday. Check your local listings.

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