Jockey Perry Ouzts, the all-time leading rider at River Downs, survived a dangerous crash on I-275 outside of Cincinnati on the morning of May 9 when the motorcycle he was riding was smashed by a car crossing two lanes.
The car was entering the highway and going in the same direction as Ouzts, who was returning to his home in Hebron, Ky., after the morning workouts at River Downs. At the time of the accident he was still wearing his protective flak jacket, exercise boots, leather riding chaps and gloves, and a protective helmet.
“I was just minding my business going 65 miles an hour and bam!," he said. "The bike and I slid across two lanes and I just got into my crouch and rolled like you would in a racing spill, but that concrete is a lot harder.
“I stopped rolling, but I saw my bike still cruising along the emergency lane. I feel so blessed. After I got up and started feeling everything I felt great, especially while looking at my bike all mangled up. I can get parts for that.”
The 57-year-old Ouzts then pointed with both hands to his hips and legs and said, “Now these parts…they are hard to find!”
Despite feeling a bit body sore he drove to the track in time to ride the entire card and won with his first two mounts. That put him in a tie for leading rider at the meet and pushed his career victories to 5,860.
Last season he won his 26th riding title by 52 victories. He is within 34 wins of passing Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey’s total and becoming the 17th leading rider in number of wins in the history of Thoroughbred racing.
Ouzts had only minor scrapes on his right leg and left hand. He also had swelling on the top of his right foot and said, “That’s no big deal, like hitting it on the side of the starting gate. I really do feel blessed.”