Jockey Rene Douglas was listed as conscious and alert at Northwest Community Hospital on the evening of May 23, after being thrown from his mount in the Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park.
Doctors were still working to determine the extent of the injuries sustained by Douglas, who was riding the 4-year-old Born to Be when the filly clipped heels and fell in upper stretch. Born to Be flipped and tossed Douglas over her head, then landed on top of the prone rider. Track workers had to drag the daughter of A.P. Indy off of Douglas before he could be transferred to a backboard. He was removed from the track via ambulance, as was his mount.
Agent Dennis Cooper said Douglas was complaining of pain in his back, arms, and neck. He initially lost feeling in his lower extremities but was gradually regaining that feeling at the hospital. Doctors were prepared to transfer him to another facility if necessary.
“I don’t know a whole lot,” Cooper said. “He can move everything, so that’s a good sign. He’s feeling pain but the fact that he’s feeling anything at all is good.”
Cooper said he had been told that the horse, trained by Eric Coatreiux, had recovered from the incident. A spokesperson for Arlington Park said the filly was back at the barn having some issues, but had not been euthanized.
“She went straight down head over heels just like in slow motion,” Cooper said. “She hit him with her whole body, dropped there on top of him and just laid there.”
The filly remained on the track for several moments before being transferred to the equine ambulance. Sky Mom, who finished fifth, was disqualified for interfering with Born to Be and was placed last.
Douglas, 42, has been the leading rider at Arlington six times (2001-2004 and 2007-2008) and holds the record for most consecutive titles at the Chicago track with four (2001-2004). This season, he was tied with E.T. Baird in the early contest for leading rider honors at the track with 15 wins going into the May 23 card.