Racing community steps up for injured jockey Fuentes

Racing community steps up for injured jockey Fuentes
Photo: Chris Crestik/Eclipse Sportswire

The racing community is stepping up for injured jockey Ruben Fuentes.

He was injured Thursday in the fifth race at Canterbury Park when his mount, Malintent, went down and was euthanized after suffering a leg injury.

According to a GoFundMe page set up by his brother Miguel to raise funds for him, Fuentes suffered a light skull fracture in the accident, and he cracked two neck vertebra and his collarbone. He underwent surgery on June 27.

As of early Wednesday afternoon EDT, the page had raised $12,860.

Fuentes's record this year is 254: 35-30-45, and he is tied for fifth place in the jockey standings at Canterbury Park.

Fuentes's agent, Pete Antonucci, told Horse Racing Nation Wednesday that the 23-year-old jockey was up and walking less than 24 hours after his surgery. "Walks perfect, everything looks good," he said, attributing his progress in part to his fitness.

Antonucci said he didn't know details of the surgery, but that "they put in some pins and some screws and I don't know what." He'll wear a collar for a few months, he said, and then do normal rehab.

The agent also didn't know when – or if – Fuentes will be able to return to riding.

"I don't know if it's an option," he said. "Of course, I know he's going to want to ride. And he may, I don't know. There are a couple of jockeys that went back to ride with back injuries like that. But most of them don't."

Antonucci said Miguel Fuentes, 27, is a jockey who rode at Ruidoso Downs in the spring and now is working as an exercise rider at Canterbury. Their younger brother, 21-year-old Luis, is the leading jockey at Canterbury's current meet and also is represented by Antonucci.

In a comment on the GoFundMe page, the Minnesota Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association posted, "Though the initial goal was $10,000 and it's already been reached, please keep donating. $10,000 may seem like a lot of money but more will definitely be needed as Ruben recuperates."

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