Three memorial funds have been established to help the family of jockey Michael Rowland, who died early today of injuries received in a riding accident last week.
Rowland suffered severe head injuries when his mount broke down at Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky on Feb. 4. Turfway has established the Michael F. Rowland Fund at Fifth/Third Bank. Donations to the fund can be made at any Fifth/Third Bank location. Those not living near a bank branch may send donations to the Michael F. Rowland Fund, c/o Turfway Park, P.O. Box 8, Florence, Ky. 41022.
Rowland rode regulary in Ohio and held numerous records at Thistledown. The track and its owner, Magna Entertainment, have established the Michael Rowland Fund at National City Bank and started the fund with $10,000. Contributions will be accepted at any National City branch in the state of Ohio. Donations can also be sent to The Michael Rowland Fund, c/o Thistledown, 21501 Emery Rd., North Randall, OH 44128.
The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has also set up a fund in the name of Rowland. Contributions can be mailed to the Kentucky HBPA at 422 Heywood Ave., Louisville, Ky., 40208.
Rowland, who was 41, died today at University Hospital in Cincinnati. He had been in a coma and on life support since the accident occurred.
"Our deepest sympathy goes out to Mike's family at this difficult and painful time," said Turfway Park president Robert N. Elliston. "Mike's contagious enthusiasm and his drive for racing excellence will be sorely missed but never forgotten by all of us at Turfway Park."
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Michael, a great friend, a great rider and a member of the Thistledown family," Thistledown vice president and general manager Bill Murphy said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Tammy and his family during this difficult time."
Rowland's family will be returning to Cleveland, Ohio, with funeral arrangements pending. A memorial service will be held at Turfway Park at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Homestretch dining room.
Rowland was a 24-year veteran who was the leading rider at Thistledown in Ohio seven times. He won 29 meet titles at the track, which has four meets a year. He arrived to ride at Thistledown in 1984 and won 30 stakes races there from 1985 to 2003.
He won a total of 3,998 races. His first win came in 1979 at Delta Downs aboard Ram's Princess. He rode his 3,000th winner in November 1998. Rowland's mounts earned in excess of $28.6 million.
Rowland is survived by his wife, Tammy, and three daughters, Sara, Farren, and Randi.