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The jockey fell off his horse head-first after the animal hit the railing during the opening race.

FILE PHOTO - The Crooked River Roundup Horse Races are held in Central Oregon. A jockey died in an accident during the opening race of the Crooked River Roundup Race Meet Wednesday evening.

The jockey, whose name is being withheld at this time, was midway through the 250-yard race when his horse went up against the railing. The jockey fell off the horse, hitting head-first against the railing then against the ground.

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 to the other jockeys.

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.


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