10/21/2014 12:36PM

Jockeys plan tribute to Saez during BC


ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockeys at the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita will be riding with “JS” patches on their pants and boots to honor fallen rider Juan Saez, the 17-year-old apprentice killed in a spill at Indiana Grand on Oct. 14.

A release this week by the Jockeys’ Guild said that besides the patch, jockeys also will ride with black armbands to honor “all other jockeys who have lost the lives during a race or as a result of race-related injuries.”

In conjunction with the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America, the guild has established a fund for contributions in Saez’s honor. Breeders’ Cup jockeys are being asked to donate at least one losing mount fee to the fund. More information is available at jockeysguild.com or rtcanational.org.

Meanwhile, Saez’s remains were still in Indianapolis on Tuesday awaiting shipment to his family in Panama, according to Julio Espinoza, Saez’s agent. Espinoza said the family is waiting for paperwork to be completed by the Panamanian embassy in Washington, D.C., and is hoping the body will be shipped by Thursday.

Espinoza and several others from the United States, including agent Richard DePass and jockey Francisco Torres, are traveling this week to Panama to be with the family.

The guild release lists Saez’s survivors as including his father, Carlos Saez; mother, Laurentina Ramos Saez; and siblings Norisela, Jakeline, Luis, Detzy, and Sebastian.

Luis, Saez’s older brother, is a standout jockey in New York. He currently is with the family and has announced plans to return to action on Oct. 29, opening day at Aqueduct.

Juan Saez died from severe head trauma suffered in a spill in which all parties were held blameless, although the Indiana Grand stewards issued a release last week saying a post-race investigation found that light from the setting sun limited jockeys’ visibility and may have contributed to the accident.

Indiana Grand, Keeneland, and other tracks have held memorials for Saez. Churchill Downs, where Saez began his American riding career in June, also is planning a between-races tribute at its upcoming fall meet.

The 31st Breeders’ Cup championships are set for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.