Matlow, Diagnosed with ALS, Retires

Jack o' Lantern was trainer's only graded stakes winner.

Edited from Santa Anita report

Richard Matlow, suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), said he was retiring as a trainer effective Jan. 30. The 66-year-old trainer said by telephone from his home that the 14 horses he had in training at Hollywood Park would be sent to other trainers.

ALS is a progressive, usually fatal, neurodegenerative disease caused by the degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. In the United States, the condition is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the New York Yankees star who was diagnosed with the illness in 1939 and died from it two years later. Today, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is likely the most well-known living ALS patient.

Matlow’s only graded stakes win came in the Grade III Hollywood Prevue Stakes last Nov. 23 when Jack o’ Lantern, ridden by Isaias Enriquez, scored a $41.80 upset.

“I was diagnosed about seven months ago,” Matlow said after the race. “I was misdiagnosed for about a year. I’ve got a bad foot and my hands are not good but other than that, I’m not bad. I still come to the barn every day. That was probably one of my biggest wins.”

Enriquez, who has ridden almost exclusively for Matlow in recent years, was understandably saddened by the news on Friday. “He’s a great trainer, a great friend and a very, very nice person,” Enriquez said. “We’ve been together for the last four years. He’s let me ride everything. We had good times together.”