posted by Kalina on May 28

Jockey Rene Douglas was injured in a racing accident at  Arlington Park in the May 23rd Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III). He went into surgery at 2:30 AM May 24th, and came out around 9:30 AM. Even after a seven hour surgery at Northwestern Hospital, he came out without feeling in his lower extremeties. His agent, Dennis Cooper reported that doctors say the 42 year old rider may not walk again.

“They said he might not walk again, it didn’t look like,” Cooper said. “He’ll probably have use of his upper body, but they gave it to me straight that he’s not likely to walk. They won’t be a million percent sure until after the swelling goes down in about 10 to 14 days, but it doesn’t look good.”

Douglas will remain in ICU for two weeks, until he moves to rehab.

According to Cooper, “It’s devastating.”

A team of specialists worked on Douglas’ compressed vertebrae, and the damage to the rider’s neck, but the main concern was his neck, which may have been damaged by a fragment of splintered bone, Cooper said.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital said that Douglas was in fair condition following his surgery. Neither the hospital nor Arlington Park officials would release any details about his injuries, Associated Press reported.

“All of our thoughts and prayers are obviously with Rene and his family, and we continue to hope for the best,” David Zenner, Arlington Park spokesman, said.

Douglas was thrown from Born to Be, the four year old filly he rode in the Arlington MAtron Handicap (gr. III). The filly was bumped by Sky Mom, clipped heels with Boudoir, and fell in the upper stretch. Born to be flipped and threw Douglas over her head before landing on top of the rider. The daughter of AP Indy had to be dragged off of him before he could be transferred to a backboard. Both Douglas and Born to Be were removed from the track via ambulance.

Cooper said that the horse, trained by Eric Coatreiux, had recovered from the incident.  A spokesperson for Arlington Park said the filly returned to the barn and had not been euthanized on the day of the accident.

“She went straight down head over heels just like in slow motion,” Cooper said. “She hit him with her whole body, dropped there on top of him and just laid there.”

A naitve of Panama, Douglas has been the leading rider at Arlington six times (2001-2004 and 2007-2008) and holds the record for most consecutive titles at the Chicago track with four (2001-2004). This season, he was tied with E.T. Baird in the early contest for leading rider honors at the track with 15 wins going into the May 23 card.

Douglas has nearly 3,600 North American victories, including the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)  with Dreaming of Anna and the 1996 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on Editor’s Note. His mounts have earned more than $102 million through May 23.

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One Comment to “Jockey Rene Douglas Paralyzed In Lower Extremities”

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