The following information was released by Los Alamitos Race Course (LARC).
Jockey Gregorio Arriaga, who was involved in a serious riding accident last October at Los Alamitos, was in great spirits as he walked around the Orange County oval and also visited friends at the racetrack on Sunday night.
Arriaga, 36, broke a vertebra in his neck and several bones all over his shoulder area, yet he feels extremely blessed to have avoided more tragic injuries.
“When I was laying in the hospital it felt just so, so ugly to know that I was seriously hurt,” said the popular horseman. “I cried and I cried because riding is something that I had done my entire life. The doctors have since told me that I should never ride again and that was tough to hear, but now when people ask me what I want to do I just tell them that ‘I want to fully recover’.”
Arriaga is rehabbing at his parents’ home in Fresno, working hard to regain complete strength in his hands and arms.
“My hands still have a numbing feeling,” said Arriaga. “I go to therapy on Mondays and Fridays. The doctor said that maybe one day I could actually get strong enough to ride again, but the risk is that if I ever fell again that that would be really, really dangerous. I have two young children, a 7-year-old and a newborn baby girl, and when I think of them and my mom and rest of my family, I just think that riding is just too huge of a risk. A lot of people helped me during my career and I want to thank all of them for their support. I was having a good year and doing really well at Los Alamitos. I just feel fortunate that I can walk on my own into this track to visit with my friends.”
“I’ve received so many letters of encouragement and support from all over the country,” Arriaga added. “I want to thank all the people that sent me get well wishes and that prayed for me. I feel happy and I will continue to work hard to recover. I go walking all the time with my mom or with my dad. I want to get healthier and stronger for my family.”
Gregorio finished as the third leading Quarter Horse rider at Los Alamitos with 79 wins from 523 starts in 2013. He was honored with the Jockey Special Achievement Award by the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association in 2012 and was the winning rider aboard Checkspeed in that year’s Wild West Futurity. He was injured when his mount This Fire Is Mine fell during the running of a 300-yard race. The Walk Thru Fire gelding was able to walk away from the fall.
Jockey Gregorio Arriaga with Caleb Keller from TVG, a television channel devoted to horse racing, at Los Alamitos Race Course on Sunday, Jan. 26. Photo courtesy of LARC.