Juan Saez : Jockey killed remembered as rising star

Juan Saez : Jockey killed remembered as rising star

Juan Saez was the first jockey to die from racing injuries sustained at an Indiana track in the 20 years since the state has had thoroughbred racing.

The 17-year-old apprentice from Panama was the 153rd jockey to die from racing injuries since 1940, according to the Jockeys’ Guild, which represents thoroughbred and quarter-horse riders in the United States.

Saez’s agent Julio Espinoza told the Daily Racing Form doctors had revived the rider “about three or four times” and that he had suffered severe head trauma before it was later confirmed he had died.

Saez, the younger brother of well-known jockey Luis Saez, suffered the fall when his mount, Montezuma Express, appeared to clip heels with a tiring horse in front of him. Saez crashed to the ground, as did his mount who was put down, and the jockey may have been struck by trailing horses. He was airlifted to a nearby trauma center with critical injuries.

The jockey had made a promising start to his US career since starting out in June. He rode 89 winners, gaining more than $2 million in prize-money.

Zayat Stables, the operation of leading owner Ahmed Zayat, ‏tweeted: “Terribly saddened by the news of Juan Saez. We absolutely loved him. Wayne Lukas always told us he was a superstar in making.

“He was named to ride several of our horses in upcoming days. Huge loss to the racing industry. RIP. Sad day.”

Following the incident in the eighth race, track officials cancelled Tuesday’s meeting a race early.