A jockey that earned tens of millions in his career died after the horse he was riding collapsed during a race.
The 57-year-old Jose Flores was riding a horse called Love Rules and was in the lead in a race at Parx Racing, on March 19. Suddenly, the horse fell, leading to horrific injuries for Flores, according to the New York Post.
Another horse came from behind and fell on top of the pair. A third horse managed to avoid falling onto the pile, but the rider of that horse was unseated, Daily Racing Form reported.
The spill caused Flores severe spine and skull injuries. He was taken to a hospital but never regained consciousness. His parents traveled from Florida to say goodbye to him while he was kept on life support. Flores died three days after the accident, according to the Daily Racing Form. Love Rules was euthanized.
The entire Parx Racing team is deeply saddened by the loss of Parx Hall of Fame Jockey, Jose Flores. He embodied all that is good in the world of horse racing, and will be missed immensely. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family https://t.co/yGnls7IBDB
— Parx Racing (@parxracing) March 22, 2018
“Jose was a good-natured, good-hearted guy,” Flores’s agent David Yannuzzi told the Daily Racing Form. “He had money but he loved to ride. He’d say, ‘Why should I stop? I love the morning training, I love the afternoons, I love the camaraderie.’ There must have been 55 people at the hospital Monday night.”
Flores started racing in 1987 and earned more than $64 million in his career. He had a total of 4,650 wins, according to the New York Post. Overall he raced in 28,683 races and is No. 42 on the list of all-time wins in North America, according to the Daily Racing Form.
Flores was inducted into the Parx Racing hall of fame in 2013. He has a total of 2,255 wins at the Bensalem, Pennsylvania, track, the Daily Racing Form reported.
Parx canceled races the day after Flores’s fall and planned a memorial service.
“Jose was a very well-respected mentor in the local jockey colony,” said Sam Elliott, Parx’s director of racing, via the Daily Racing Form. “We canceled out of respect for Jose, his career, and his family.”
Racing today at Parx Racing has been canceled due to circumstances from yesterday's 9th race. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hall of Fame jockey Jose Flores and his family.
— Parx Racing (@parxracing) March 20, 2018
Flores was married to former jockey Joanne McDaid-Flores and had three sons, the youngest being 7 years old, the Daily Racing Form reported.
The last time a jockey died from injuries at a race was in October 2017, according to Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, via the Daily Racing Card. Flores is the 157th jockey to die from race injuries since the guild started keeping records, in 1940.