Jockey Jose Flores, 56, was taken off life support on Thursday following an accident in a race on Monday at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa. Parx Racing, in a statement, called Flores an embodiment of "all that is good in the world of horse racing." The accident occurred when Flores was racing in the Philadelphia suburb and his horse fell down, knocking Flores off. He suffered massive head trauma after hitting the ground headfirst.
The entire Parx Racing team is deeply saddened by the loss of Parx Hall of Fame Jockey, Jose Flores. He embodied all that is good in the world of horse racing, and will be missed immensely. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family https://t.co/yGnls7IBDB— Parx Racing (@parxracing) March 22, 2018
Flores had 28,684 starts over the course of his career, which went for over 30 years. He won 4,650 of those races, making over $64 million in earnings, according to Equibase. He was inducted into the Parx Hall of Fame five years ago, and was the top career earner at Parx.
Two other riders went down in the accident, but Ruben Silvera and Carol Sedano (along with their horses) came out relatively unscathed, with Silvera walking walking back to the jockey room and Sedano suffering some minor neck soreness. She was released the day after being admitted to a hospital and getting an MRI. Flores' horse, Love Rules, had to be euthanized after the fall.
"It's unbelievable, just sickening," Scott Lake, Parx's all-time leading trainer, said to The Philadelphia Inquirer. "He was just tremendous, a nice guy, always a professional." Lake knew Flores since 1991.
The horse racing world offered condolences for Flores' loss after the accident occurred on Monday.
RIP Jose Flores. Never met jockey Jose Flores but seems to have been a great man with an extraordinary life. PA Hall of Famer. If anyone knows of a fund set up for his family or if @PDJFund is helping him please pass along. Condolences to his family and PA racing community. pic.twitter.com/GUQdRmn2WK— Frosted (@OneFastCookie) March 20, 2018
I am Heart broken do to the news that a good friend Jose Flores passed away 😢😔. RIP my friend.— Eric Cancel (@Ericcancel18) March 20, 2018
Deeply saddened by the loss of Jose Flores. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers and may everyone in this sport take a moment to truly reflect on this tragedy. May we not forget the respect these horseman deserve every time we give them a leg up into their saddle.— Lacey Gaudet (@GaudetRacing) March 20, 2018
I am told jockey Jose Flores is on life support as his wife, former rider Joanne McDaid-Flores, awaits the arrival of relatives from Florida. Jose has extensive cranial and spinal injuries and is not expected to survive. Updated story shortly on https://t.co/TSvTs2HTz9.— Jim Dunleavy (@DRFDunleavy) March 20, 2018
Flores is survived by his wife, Joanne McDaid-Flores, and their 7-year-old son Julian, plus his two older sons from a previous relationship, Juan and Jose Jr.
Racing is expected to resume at Parx on Saturday.