View Full Version : Jockey in critical condition after spill at Turfway

02-05-2004, 10:33 PM
FLORENCE, Ky. -- Jockey Michael Rowland was in critical condition Thursday, one day after being involved in a three-horse spill at Turfway Park.

Rowland's agent, Mike Greenfield, said he was told by the jockey's family that Rowland was in a coma and had brain damage.

"It's not looking good," Greenfield said. "But from what I've heard, even the best case scenario is not going to be really good."

Rowland had surgery Wednesday night, but the extent of his injuries was not immediately known, track spokesman Sherry Pinson said.

Pat Samson, spokeswoman for University Hospital in Cincinnati, refused to comment on Rowland's injuries.

Rowland was riding 5-year-old World Trade in the seventh race, a $13,900 claiming race for 4-year-olds and up.

Turfway track announcer Mike Battaglia said Rowland's horse was leading when it broke down.

"He was in front when his horse broke his leg," Battaglia said. "He got stepped on and kicked. I knew it was really bad ... I looked back on the racetrack and he never moved."

Mark Johnston, aboard Miner Moss, was also involved in the spill and was treated for a broke collarbone. Jockey Jessica Endres sustained bruises, but was not hospitalized.

Rowland has 3,998 career victories and is Thistledown's winningest jockey with 29 meet titles.

Turfway Park canceled Thursday's card out of concern for Rowland and his family, Pinson said.

02-09-2004, 08:45 PM
FLORENCE, Ky. -- Michael Rowland, a jockey with almost 4,000 victories, died Monday from injuries sustained in a spill at Turfway Park last week. He was 41.

Rowland died at University Hospital in Cincinnati, hospital spokeswoman Pat Samson said.

The tragic fall occurred Wednesday when Rowland was unseated after his mount, World Trade, broke a front leg and collapsed on the first turn of a $13,900 claiming race. The horse collided with two other horses, injuring the other two riders.

"Horses were his life," his wife, Tammy Rowland, told The Associated Press. "He was one of the best. In my eyes, he was the best."

Rowland, with 3,998 career victories, was the winningest jockey at Thistledown and won 29 meet titles at the track near Cleveland. He was riding at Turfway to be near his wife, a trainer at the track.

"Mike's contagious enthusiasm and his drive for racing excellence will be sorely missed but never forgotten by all of us at Turfway Park," track president Bob Elliston said.

Since 1940, there have been 144 jockey deaths in North America, according to The Jockeys' Guild. The last American jockey death came at Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio, in 2001, when Arnold Ruiz died from injuries after a spill, according to the guild.

The jockey's group said Rowland was the third rider to die at a Kentucky track. The others were Nelma Joan Henderson at Churchill Downs in 1976, and Jorge Alfonso at Dade Park in 1944.

"All of us at the NTRA and Breeders' Cup extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues," National Thoroughbred Racing Association commissioner Tim Smith said in a statement.

"Rowland's nearly 4,000 winners over a career dating back to 1979 speak not just to his riding excellence but to his remarkable dedication and courage."

Rowland's first win came in 1979 aboard Tam's Princess at Delta Downs in Vinton, La. Rowland first started riding at Thistledown in 1984 and won 30 stakes there from 1985 to 2003.

Thistledown general manager Bill Murphy said the track will set up a memorial fund for Rowland's family.

Rowland twice tied the Ohio thoroughbred riding record with six wins in one day. He occasionally rode at Keeneland in Lexington, riding six winners over four years.

Rowland was born in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Sara, 8, Farren, 15, and Randi, 20.

A memorial service was scheduled at Turfway Park on Wednesday.