Things happen very fast in horse racing. Back in 2011 Rosario Montanez was an Eclipse Award finalist, an award that went to Kyle Frey that year. Today the 28 year old jockey from San Diego California is recovering from back surgery at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, a Baltimore, Maryland Hospital. It is easy to forget how dangerous this sport can be and how a split second can change things forever.
The worst part of this game is when we are reminded why both an equine and human ambulance follow our athletes around the course.
Rosario rode Hendaya in the first race at Laurel Park on Friday, a 5 1/2 furlong sprint on the grass. His mount clipped heels and fell, but was able to get up and run off. Annie Boo Boo ridden by Angel Cruz appeared to be able to jump the fallen horse and rider and was pulled up after the incident.
Reports are Montanez sustained several broken bones in his back and neck. On track reports were that he was bleeding from his mouth, nose, and possibly ears following the fall.
The prestigious Saratoga meet is underway in upstate New York and Montanez had ridden there in the past and was also injured. In the 2014 Saratoga meet Montanez suffered a concussion along with a fractured pelvis, rib, and head lacerations requiring a metal face plate insertion. He was out of competition nearly two years following that accident.
Rosario Montanez has won over 600 races and over 18 million dollars in purses. A highlight of his career was riding Happy Lantern for Hall of Fame and Maryland legend, trainer King Leatherbury’s 6,5000th win. Montanez is also a multiple stakes winning jockey.
It is unclear if Rosario Montanez will be able to return to the saddle, or how long that might take. Time and time again these pound for pound strongest and toughest athletes in the world show us counting them out is never a good idea. All of us at Past the Wire wish Rosario and his loved ones the best!
A Go Fund Me for Rosario and his family has been set up by Brittany Russell:
Photos: Rosario Montanez Facebook