01/04/2016 5:49PM

Paralyzed former jockey Straight walks into winner's circle

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Former jockey Michael Straight, paralyzed from the chest down in a riding accident in 2009, walked into the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle following the seventh race Sunday with the help of a bionic exoskeleton, a robot-like suit controlled by the user that provides upright ambulation for persons with chronic, disabling disorders such as spinal-cord injuries.  

Straight was welcomed into the winner’s circle by Hall of Fame riders Angel Cordero Jr., Chris McCarron, Jose Santos, Bobby Ussery, Walter Blum, and Edgar Prado as well as members from the local jockey colony and Michael Martinez, who severed his spine in a spill in 2010.

A fundraiser to provide Martinez with a bionic exoskeleton also was announced, with donations to be made to His Place Ministries, c/o Michael Martinez, 1055 Papaya St., Hollywood, Fla. 33019.