Jockey Richard Gamez was killed during a race on Sunday when he was trampled after falling from his horse at Rillito Park Racetrack in Arizona.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, Gamez was riding his horse Drama Is Overrated when he was unseated from his saddle during the fifth race of the day. After falling to the track, Gamez was crushed by at least one other horse.
The 66-year-old was transported to Banner-University Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Throughout his career, Gamez had amassed 643 wins from 4,642 mounts since 1976, Arizona Central noted. His death is the first at the racetrack since the 1960s, Rillito Park Foundation president Jaye Wells told the Daily Star.
“We’ve had jockeys get injured here before, but nothing like this,” Wells said. “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.”
“He was an incredibly spirited rider, and well-respected by all the younger riders,” Wells added. “Everybody is just in disbelief, but yet we understand this is the risk of the sport. So while this is incredibly infrequent, it’s not unheard of.”
Gamez’s two brothers are also riders, the outlet said, and the rest of his family works in various positions within the sport.
“The Gamez family is an extended family, and if people aren’t jockeys, they’re trainers,” Wells told the Daily Star. “It’s just amazing how broadly the Gamez family affects the horse-racing community in Southern Arizona.”
Hector Pinedo, Gamez’s longtime friend, added to the Daily Star: “He was a good guy. A hell of a guy. He loved horses… He loved the sport of kings, and he died doing what he did best.”