Tampa Bay Downs and horse racing enthusiasts in Florida are mourning the loss of an exercise rider killed Saturday morning.
Exercise rider Daniel Quintero, 19, died in a training accident at the facility, according to Tampa Bay Downs’ social media accounts.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office told FOX 13 deputies were called to the racetrack for reports of a man down around 7 a.m., and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
“The entire racetrack community expresses its condolences to his family members and friends,” a Tampa Bay Downs Facebook post read. A lot of people reacting questioned why the racetrack continued to hold races Saturday.
“The 19-year-old’s horse bolted the wrong way around the track, colliding with an oncoming galloper travelling counter-clockwise,” Racing Post stated. The work rider and aspiring jockey reportedly died instantly from the impact. Both horse and the other rider were physically unharmed.
“Daniel was an intelligent young man,” Tampa Bay Downs pony rider Sydney Fried told the British tabloid. “He was always paying attention to everything around him. He never hesitated to ask any questions and once he got the answer he learned very quick.”
The Tampa Bay Downs observed a moment of silence at 12:20 p.m. in honor of Quintero.
Established in 1926, Tampa Bay Downs Facebook says they are the only thoroughbred racetrack on the west coast of Florida. The current live racing season runs through May 6, 2023.