Longtime Tucson jockey dies after fall from horse

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Longtime jockey Richard Gamez died Sunday after falling from his horse and getting trampled by another horse during a race in Tucson.

Gamez was leading in the fifth race at Rillito Park Racetrack when his horse stumbled and he was thrown from the saddle, according to the Rillito Park Foundation.

Gamez, 66, was trampled by at least one trailing horse and taken to Banner University Medical Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

“We’ve had jockeys get injured here before, but nothing like this,” Foundation President Jaye 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.”

Gamez garnered two wins, two places and four shows during the first four weekends of the 2020 Winter Meet, a seven-weekend series that includes 14 races. The meet started Feb. 8 and is scheduled to continue until March 22.

His death marks the first at the Tucson track since the 1960s, Wells said. The horse Gamez was riding was not injured.

Gamez started racing at Rillito Park Racetrack when he was a child. He rode in more than 1,300 quarter horse races, winning nearly 200 races and earned more than $617,000, according to the American Quarter Horse Association.

Gamez also earned more than $1.2 million while racing thoroughbreds more than 4,500 times. He ranked seventh this season including two first-place wins.

“He was a good guy. A hell of a guy. He loved horses,” said Hector Pinedo, who knew Gamez for nearly 50 years and helped Gamez raise and ride horses for Pinedo’s father before his death. “He loved the sport of kings, and he died doing what he did best.”

The racetrack and foundation are planning a celebration of Gamez’s life this weekend. Details of the celebration were still being planned on Tuesday.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

Taiba wins $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for Baffert

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BENSALEM, Pa. – Taiba won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by three lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Taiba ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67 and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.60.

It was Baffert’s fourth win in the Grade 1 event at Parx Racing. He also won in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Smith won the race for the third time, all aboard Baffert horses.

Zandon returned $3.80 and $2.60. Cyberknife was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $3 to show.

Taiba was coming off a second-place finish in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. The colt was 12th in the Kentucky Derby under Tim Yakteen, who took over training him while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

“He had a little bit of a rough trip in the Haskell, but we had some time to get him ready for this one,” Baffert said from his base in California. “He proved today he is a good horse. He is getting better and better.”

Baffert Taiba will be pointed toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The colt has three wins in five starts this year.