09/27/2011 2:53PM

Jockeys' Guild starts fund-raising for paralyzed rider

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The Jockeys’ Guild is coordinating a crucial, nationwide fund-raiser for Jacky Martin, the prominent Quarter Horse rider paralyzed from the neck down in a recent spill, on Oct. 8. The organization is asking both Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred jockeys from around the country to donate a losing mount fee that day, with the funds to be set aside for Martin’s medical costs.

Martin’s care is currently being covered by a $500,000 ontrack insurance policy that Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico had in place at the time of the spill on Sept. 2. It is the sole insurance he has, and those funds are projected to be exhausted by the first part of November, said his wife, Tracey Martin. From that point, fund-raisers will play a key role in providing for his care, she said. Martin’s medical expenses are projected to average about $1.5 million a year in what is a conservative estimate, said Tracey Martin.

Martin, 56, spent about three weeks in an El Paso, Texas, hospital before being transferred last Thursday to TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. He will eventually start a rehabilitation program at the facility, which is the same one that treated Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head in January.

“He’s not strong enough to start rehab,” Tracey Martin said of her husband. “Mainly, they’re trying to get him healthy and well enough, and when all those things are accomplished they’ll work on the rehab process.”

Tracey Martin said one of the main objectives will be to attempt to wean Martin off a ventilator that he has relied on for breathing the past several weeks. She said the rehab would be considered a success were Martin to be able to function without the respirator.

“It is critically important that the funds raise enough money to help with the long-term care for Jacky,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Guild. “Insurance only covers so much of the needed costs. We are asking jockeys and individuals to help Jacky carry on his life after this catastrophic event. All donations are appreciated.”

To raise awareness for Martin, jockeys will be riding with a boot decal with his name Oct. 8. He is one of the most decorated riders in racing as a seven-time winner of the prestigious All American Futurity.