Jockey killed, 2 horses euthanized after incidents at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino

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SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (Oct. 14, 2014)— A jockey was killed following an incident at the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino Tuesday.

Shelbyville Fire Department crews were called to the scene at 5:40 p.m. on a report of an injured jockey.

Preliminary investigation by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission’s Board of Stewards indicated jockey Juan Saez’ horse, Montezuma Express, clipped heels with the horse in front of him, causing him to fall. A trailing horse was unable to avoid the incident and also fell.

Saez, a 17-year-old apprentice rider from Panama, was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in critical condition, and his horse was euthanized.

Saez was pronounced dead at Methodist just before 11 p.m. His official cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

No other riders were injured.

In a separate incident, another horse, Platitude, fell and was also euthanized. Officials believe the two incidents were not related.

“The entire Centaur Gaming team is deeply saddened by the loss of Jockey Juan Saez,” said Rod Ratcliff Centaur Gaming’s chairman and CEO. “In Juan, we lost a courageous athlete, dedicated friend, and a member of the racing community that will be missed for years to come.”

“A moment such as this gives us great pause, and reminds us all that our racing athletes bravely risk their lives each and every day,” said Jim Brown, Centaur Gaming’s president, COO and Indiana Grand general manger. “We ask that our local racing fans as well as those watching via simulcast join us on Thursday as we remember Juan and pay our respects to our fallen friend.”

Saez split his time riding at Kentucky racetracks and Indiana Grand, and the young rider earned the Leading Jockey and Leading Apprentice titles at Ellis Park in early September.

All live racing at the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino are canceled Wednesday in remembrance of Saez.  A public memorial honoring his life and career will be held at the venue Thursday, Oct. 16.