Richard Gamez, a 66-year-old jockey, has died from his injuries after falling from his horse during a race at Rillito Park, Arizona.
It was reported by the local media outlet Tucson that Gamez was in the lead during a race this past weekend at Rillito Park, when his horse stumbled, causing him to fall off. They added that he may have been trampled by at least one of the trailing horses. The outlet also reported that he passed away from his injuries after being taken to the Banner-University Medical Center.
The official Twitter account for Rillito Park tweeted their condolences for Gamez’s death:
The tweet from March 2 reads, “We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rillito family. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Richard’s family and friends. Richard was a fantastic human being and a true horseman. Today we are all GAMEZ.”
Heavy has reached out to Rillito Park Foundation, which oversees the racetrack, but has not yet heard back.
The foundation’s president, Jay Wells, told Tucson that they’ve had injuries before, but nothing like this. Wells doesn’t believe Gamez’s age was a factor in the death, saying, “The accident was such that it didn’t really have anything to do with his age. I’m no medical expert, but we believe the brain injury was such that he wouldn’t have survived if he’d been 20.”
The Arizona Department of Gaming Is Investigating the Incident
According to local media, the Arizona Department of Gaming, which oversees horse racing in the state, said in a statement that it is investigating the accident and will provide updates when they are available.
They also tweeted their condolences:
The tweet reads, “The entire ADG Racing team is deeply saddened by the loss of Richard Gamez. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family, friends and the entire racing community.”
Gamez Retired From Racing in 2002 but Returned in 2018
As reported by the Daily Racing Form, Gamez had retired from racing for 16 years. But he made his triumphant return in 2018, and he won six races on 41 mounts. They also reported that he made over $168,000 in 2000, his most lucrative year of competing.
The Daily Racing Form also stated that he had 48 or more wins four times between 1985 and 1996.
According to American Quarter Horse Association, Gamez rode more than 1,300 American Quarter Horse starters in his career. He won close to 200 races, and earned more than $617,000. They also stated that Gamez rode more than 640 winning Thoroughbred starters, netting him more than $1.2 million.