Dangerous Game

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 15, 2010 in General Discussion, News | 4 Comments >>

Every time a rider leaves the paddock, there is a chance that they may not return. They may be injured in a spill, or sustain a career-ending injury in the matter of milliseconds. All today, and gone in blip…. Tough game.

Jockey Michael Martinez is a rider at Golden Gate Fields. He left the paddock aboard a cheap claimer named Fair ‘n Warmer. His mount was the favorite, and he was probably spending the money before he won. Not out of the question, and we are all guilty of a little day dreaming for gold… Then they took to the track, and things will never be the same after the gates sprung open.

He clipped heels when in tight company, and went down hard. This sounds like the tragedy, but it is only the beginning.

He spent 11 hours on the table in surgery, and his spinal cord was completely cut…. With words such as these, they make us draw that deep breath and ponder what is next. Just moments ago, a 24-yr-old man was planning to spend his purse winnings in the post parade, and now he fights for his life.

He is termed “very critical” and things do not look good at the time of this blog. If you find prayers in your heart, now is the time when Mr. Martinez could use them. His cousin Alex Solis took off his mounts and flew from Kentucky back to California. As if things couldn’t get any harder, Martinez and his wife were going to be parents at the end of the month… The story does not have any good, and serves only as a reminder that life is a gift. Cherish every moment, take the time to make that call, go see that friend, email your pal, write that letter, and don’t forget the important things.

Our prayers are with the Martinez family, and every athlete that takes to the saddle. For a rider that weighs around 110 pounds, they have the heart of a lion, the strength of a bear, and the courage of a fighter. If there is anything good that can happen, it seems a million miles away. But hope is eternal, and maybe divine intervention or a skilled doctor with the hands of a artist may find a way to save his life…..

4 Responses to “Dangerous Game”

  1. Janet says:

    I enjoyed your blog. I will pray for Mr. Martinez. He was my favorite Jockey. God speed his healing.

  2. Ed says:


    He is in all of our prayers…. Our best goes to the Martinez family…..


  3. KL says:

    Very well put. Unfortunately, I am very close to this situation. I broke that filly to ride for the owner. Every time I swing my leg over one and go to the track , I know in the back of my mind that something like this could happen to me. How easy misfortune happens, and how lucky I have been on some very close calls. But, it’s a love of the game and a true love of the animal we ride. I also have a very good family friend who is a paralyzed jockey. She too knew the dangers and it happened on one of her own horses. The light at the end of the tunnel for her is that she has the strength and determination to never quit fighting and she has proved that over and over again, as Michale will. She has found a way to ride a saddle horse. As she layed in the hospital after the accident, she was determined then to ride again, and nearly 6 years later her determination came through. Michael and his family are definatley in our prayers. I truley hope he is a candidate for the stem cell procedure,

  4. Dan B says:

    Michael was a fine rider and a classy man. I remember asking him for a pair of goggles for my grandson. He came out of the jocks room at Golden Gate and looked for us to hand them to the little guy before he even met up with the owners and trainer for his next mount. What a class act! God bless you Michael. “Que Dios te bendiga”. And keep on fighting, you have a long and wonderful life ahead of you! We are all praying for your speedy and full recovery.

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