Jockey Jose Flores Dead After Fall In Pennsylvania

The racing world is in mourning at the news Jose Flores has died in hospital after his horse, Love Rules, fell at Parx Racing in Philadelphia last Monday.
The horse fell victim to a fatal breakdown while battling for the lead, and Flores suffered major injuries to the head and spine that left him in a coma. Flores spent three days in intensive care at Philadelphia’s Aria Frankford Torresdale Hospital, but lost his battle on Thursday, and was pronounced dead by doctors at 12:42PM local time.
A Racing Legend
Flores, originally from Peru, was one of the most successful jockeys in Pennsylvania’s history. The 57 year old had enjoyed a 30-year career, during which time he had accumulated an amazing 4,650 career victories from almost 29,000 starts. While he will best be remembered for his total dominance in the 1990s, during which he rode 2,200 winners at Penn National alone, Flores was still a force to be reckoned with, and when betting tipsters such as Bettingpro were offering free racing tips for Pennsylvania meetings, the name of Jose Flores was never far from their lips.
Flores’ fateful final race was at another track that he had all but made his own, Parx Racing, which was formerly known as Philadelphia Park. He was the top career earner of all time at the track, and according to Equibase, his career earnings amounted to more than $80 million.
Humble Origins
Flores’ tale is one of the classic Cinderella stories that makes sport so special in our hearts. Born in Peru, his father, who was also a jockey, took him to watch the races as a boy. He soon developed a passion for horses and the young Jose learned to ride on a local farm. He then moved to Panama as a journeyman jockey.
Finally, like so many before him and since, he made the move to the USA to seek his fortune. Speaking to the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association in an interview some years ago, he said the early years were tough: ““I did not speak English, so I moved to Canterbury Downs and learned English out of necessity. I lived with a police officer who knew no Spanish!”
After a couple of years in Florida, Flores made the move to Penn National in 1992 at the age of 32 and the rest is history.
What Went Wrong?
We all know that racing can be dangerous, but when a tragedy such as this strikes, it still leaves the entire racing world in a state of shock. His horse Love Rules would appear to have been victim to some catastrophic event that caused it to fall suddenly while challenging for the lead, and was put down at the scene. Two other horses were also involved in the incident, but both runners and riders walked away unscathed.
It seems that the sudden nature of his horse’s collapse, however, caused Flores to strike the ground head first, and it is this initial impact that is believed to have caused the brain damage.
Racing at Parx was called off for the rest of the day, and all races on the following day were also cancelled as a mark of respect for the race track’s favourite son. Management issued the following tribute: “Jose was an outstanding jockey who was greatly admired for both his superb talent and his wonderful personality. 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, friends and the entire racing community.”
Jose Luis Flores is survived his wife, former jockey Joanne McDaid-Flores, his parents, and his three sons.

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