As a racing fan we are indebted to the jockeys that take the risks required to put on the show. Horseplayers risk bankroll and their good name but these things can be replaced as quickly as they are lost. These jockeys risk their lives, their health and their ability to take care of their family. What they risk is priceless. At any time a life could be lost on the track. Can you imagine the irony of risking your life for a complete strangers entertainment only to be heckled and called a pinhead by those strangers day after day. In light of Rene Douglas' accident hopefully there will be a day where this type of heckling is unacceptable at any racetrack.
Even though I don't know him personally and he does not ride regularly on my home circuit the incident over weekend with Rene Douglas affected me. He has been on my mind and in my thoughts and prayers. I am hoping that his physical and mental strength as an athlete pulls him through this tremendously challenging life event. The greatest game also carries the greatest risks.
Here is my fondest memory of Rene Douglas as he rode fearlessly in the 2008 Manhattan Handicap on Dancing Forever;
The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund is a worthwhile charity to donate to.