The mainstream sports fan would never include jockeys among the ‘toughest athletes in sports’ but horse racing aficionados know the ‘real deal’. For the men that ride the horses, being a jockey is a highly challenging, competitive and potentially dangerous job. Jockeys face a training regimen similar to professional fighters with one big exception–they have to ‘make weight’ every day. Even though they’re in phenomenal condition they have to work among a number of animals that weigh thousands of pounds.
Even though they take every precaution to stay safe even the best jockeys are not immune to injury. Edwin Maldonado found that out the hard way as he was injured in a training injury at Del Mar early on Sunday morning. The horse that Maldonado was working veered strongly left coming out of the gate and took the jockey right into the rail which witnesses say that he hit very hard. Maldonado was immediately taken by ambulance to Scripps La Jolla Hospital in nearby La Jolla, California.
His agent,Sarah Wolfe, provided an update via text message indicating that Maldonado had suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs. At the time of her update, he was undergoing an operating room procedure to insert a chest tube to help him breathe easier. The situation isn’t life or career threatening but did require some invasive action to immediately stabilize the 33 year old rider. No updates have been issued on Maldonado’s condition since the original report but this is likely a ‘no news is good news’ situation. In most jockey injury situations the priority is the privacy and tranquility of the patient. Updates are usually only issued if the situation becomes dire which is thankfully not the case here.
The injury is an setback for Maldonado who has been trying to regain top ten status in the highly competitive Southern California jockey rankings. At the time of his injury, Maldonado had won three races from 73 mounts at the current running summer meet at Del Mar. Maldonado was fourth in the jockey standings at the winter/spring and spring/summer meets at Santa Anita. Maldonado has won three track riding titles with the most recent coming in the 2013 spring/summer meet at the now defunct Hollywood Park where he tied with Rafael Bejarano.