While I have only met Juan once, I have watched him ride many times and he rode our horse twice. Juan's first mount AND first win at Indiana Grand was on our horse. The kid could RIDE. Nerves of steel. He never flinched. When another rider might have given up and just hung on he got back on kept riding. He was hungry for it and loved it. He could ride like no body's business. I haven't seen many photos of him where he's not smiling. Covered head to toe in mud and grinning because he just won another race and loves his job.
My step-dad said that Juan was just a boy. But he got up everyday and did a man's (and woman's) job and handled himself with pride and class of a person of a much mature age. Jockeys know when they get into that line of work what the risks are. But they do it anyways. No because they have to or don't know how to do anything else but because they can't picture themselves being happy doing anything but blazing down the stretch at 45 miles per hour on the back of 1200 pounds. If you never take any chances you'll never win. And as always in racing, everything can turn upside down at the drop of a hat. Horses' legs snap. Heels get clipped and horses fall. Horses spook and careen off unseeing. Jockeys fall off and get hurt and sometimes, critically or fatally so. If you are ever having a high point of your racing career, whether it be training, riding, owning, just wait. But that's racing. The whole game is a gamble. But we all know that from the start. Anyone that competes in any discipline on the back of a horse knows the risks. And when it all goes caddy-whampus it saddens our hearts.
My heart is heavy. Rest in peace to such a talented young man. Prayers and thoughts to his family and all those close to him.
|After Juan's first win at Indiana aboard So So Worth It, our horse
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.