Veteran jockey Richard Gamez died from injuries he sustained while getting trampled on an Arizona horse racing track on Sunday.
Gamez, 66, was reportedly leading his race at Rillito Racetrack in the Tuscon area, when he was bucked off of his horse. After hitting the ground, the longtime jockey was then trampled by another horse.
On Monday, track officials announced that Gamez had succumbed to “catastrophic” injuries.
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. pic.twitter.com/TO8PozJKvh
— Rillito Park (@RillitoPark) March 2, 2020
Gamez had earned more than a million dollars in prize money in a career that had spanned decades.
“The accident was such that it didn’t really have anything to do with his age,” said Jaye Wells, president of the Rillito Park Foundation. “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 horse Gamez was riding did not sustain any injuries in the incident.
A friend of Gamez, Hector Pinedo, spoke about his friend and fellow jockey’s love of horse racing.
“He was a good guy. A hell of a guy. He loved horses,” Pinedo said. “He loved the sport of kings, and he died doing what he did best.”
Track officials planned to hold a tribute for Gamez at the track.