Jockey Eduardo Gutiérrez Sosa dies in Oregon racing accident

Jockey Eduardo Gutiérrez Sosa dies in Oregon racing accident
Photo: Grants Pass Downs / 2019

Eduardo Gutiérrez Sosa, a journeyman jockey who rode more than 2,500 starts at small tracks around the Pacific Northwest and nearby states, died in a racing accident Wednesday evening in central Oregon.

Taking part in the annual Crooked River Roundup in Prineville, Gutiérrez was bucked over the rail in the middle of a 250-yard race for maiden 2-year-old quarter horses, according to a newspaper report, the race chart and an amateur video.

The video recorded from the middle of the grandstand showed Gutiérrez Sosa losing control of Godfather Advice, who had space for himself in mid-pack when he skimmed the rail. As the 2-year-old colt continued forward, he partially obscured the view, but it appeared Gutiérrez Sosa may have landed head first on the infield side of the rail.

The Central Oregonian reported that Gutiérrez Sosa’s head struck the rail before he hit the ground. He appeared unconscious in the final frames of the 15-second video.

According to the Equibase race chart, Godfather Advice “walked off” after what was his second start. Bred and owned by Enrique Garibay Ceja and trained by wife Rosa Rodríguez, he had finished last in his debut June 15 with Gutiérrez Sosa riding him at Grants Pass Downs.

The wooden grandstand at the Crooked County Fairgrounds was packed with spectators who were watching Wednesday’s first race of the annual four-day meet that was canceled last year because of COVID. Cheering all the way through the finish of the race, the crowd apparently did not realize right away the seriousness of Gutiérrez Sosa’s injury.

One more race was run Wednesday about 30 minutes behind schedule before the last six were canceled.

According to the newspaper report, the crowd was shocked when racing director Doug Smith went on the public-address system to announce that Gutiérrez Sosa had died. Fighting his emotions, Smith said it was the first time he had experienced the death of a jockey in his more than 40 years in the sport.

Smith said racing would resume as scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the last three evenings of the short meet.

With five wins in 22 starts, Gutiérrez-Sosa shared the riding title in the 2019 Crooked River Roundup. In a nine-year career he rode 1,592 starts on Thoroughbreds with 194 wins and $858,215 in earnings. In quarter-horse races he rode 919 times, won 171 and earned $788,120.

Gutiérrez-Sosa was a 12-time stakes winner in Thoroughbred races, the biggest of which were two in Idaho worth just under $12,000 each. Each time he finished first on Al Faatik in the summer of 2015 at Les Bois Park. His other stakes victories came in Oregon at Grants Pass Downs, the Harney County Fair, Portland Meadows and at the Crooked County Fairgrounds as well as the Elko County Fair in Nevada.

Gutiérrez Sosa is survived by Rodriguez and three young children. 

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