The Illinois Racing Board has handed jockey Jamie Theriot a 30-day suspension for his involvement in a May 23 racing accident that caused a severe injury to Rene Douglas, the six-time leading rider at Arlington Park who may be permanently paralyzed and is currently recovering at a Chicago hospital.
State stewards Joseph Lindeman and Eddie Arroyo, and Association steward Peter Kosiba Jr. released the ruling May 25. It states that Theriot merits the suspension for “permitting his mount, Sky Mom, to jostle another horse during the running of the (Arlington Matron)… causing the jostled horse to clip heels and fall, injuring both jockey and horse.”
"My thoughts and prayers go out to Rene and his family," a tearful Theriot said May 25 in an interview with The Blood-Horse. "I really, truly, feel horrible about what happened. I've never been put in this kind of situation. I feel for his wife, his kids, himself ... Every time we put these boots on, all of us don’t know what’s in store, but I never thought I would be part of something like this. I really, really hurt inside over what happened."
Following the accident, in which Born To Be clipped heels and fell on top of Douglas, Sky Mom was disqualified from fifth to last for interference. Douglas underwent a seven-hour surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on May 24 to repair damage to vertebrae in his neck and spine. He also sustained broken ribs as a result of the spill. Douglas’ longtime agent, Dennis Cooper, said the jockey is currently paralyzed in his lower extremities and doctors maintain little hope that he’ll recover use of his legs. Born To Be, a 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy trained by Eric Coatrieux, was euthanized.
Theriot has five days to appeal the suspension, which is to be served from May 30 to June 28. Kosiba directed all further inquiries to the Illinois Racing Board.