04/06/2016 9:57AM

Jockey Fray Martinez dies of leukemia at 21


Jockey Fray Martinez died Wednesday morning at age 21 in his native Puerto Rico from leukemia. His death came just hours after his wife, Yelitza, gave birth to their first child, a boy, on Tuesday.

Martinez rode in the Mid-Atlantic from April 2014 through early May last year. He was diagnosed in December with acute myeloid leukemia and had been receiving treatment in San Juan ever since.

Martinez rode primarily at Delaware Park and in Maryland at Laurel Park and Pimlico. He also won races at Penn National, Parx Racing, Charles Town, and Atlantic City. Martinez was the leading apprentice at the 2014 Delaware meet and finished fifth in that year's Thoroughbred standings at that track.

In all, Martinez won 83 races in the United States, and his mounts earned more than $1.9 million. He won another 44 races at Hipodromo Camarero in Puerto Rico. Martinez was a graduate of the famed jockey school in Puerto Rico, Escuela Vocacional Hipica.

Martinez and top Maryland rider Victor Carrasco had a very close bond. They were good friends growing up in Puerto Rico and roommates in the United States. When Martinez began riding in the U.S., Tom Stift, Carrasco's agent, represented him. Carrasco was in Puerto Rico to see Martinez on Tuesday.

When Martinez became ill, many in the racing industry donated to help with his medical costs.

A GoFundMe page for Martinez raised more than $10,000. Laurel Park held a fundraiser on Barbara Fritchie Stakes Day in February that raised almost $10,000. The account-wagering company XpressBet donated all revenue generated from wagers on Laurel on Fritchie Day, which totaled $6,280. Additionally, a reader of The Racing Biz website made a $10,000 donation that weekend.