A jockey died in an accident during the opening race of the Crooked River Roundup Race Meet Wednesday evening.
The jockey, 29-year-old Eduardo Gutierrez Sosa, was midway through the 250-yard race when he was thrown from his horse near the infield railing. Sosa fell off the horse, hitting head-first against the railing then against the ground. Prineville police report that he died from injuries sustained during the fall.
After a long delay, a second 5 ½ furlough-long race was held, but prior to the start of the third scheduled race, Race Director Doug Smith announced over the PA system that the jockey had passed and that the rest of the night's racing would be canceled out of respect for the fallen jockey.
The announcement shocked many in the capacity crowd, and a noticeably upset Smith told the audience that he and other members of the Roundup board were heartbroken. He added that it was the first time in his more than 40 years with the races that a jockey had died.
The four-day race meet is thus far expected to resume on Thursday as scheduled. Smith told the audience that people could return to the arena Thursday evening with their admission wristbands from Wednesday and enter for half-price.
Prineville Police Department along with the State Racing Board are conducting a joint investigation into the accident.
Police went on to report that several citizens donated their tickets from Wednesday night's races to the family and added that donation buckets will be located at the betting windows the next three nights of the races for those who would like to contribute to Sosa's family.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.