Updated on 09/05/2014 9:16AM

Sandy Lovato, wife of Eclipse-winning jockey, dies

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Sandy Lovato, a therapeutic riding instructor and the wife of 1980 champion apprentice Frank Lovato Jr., died on Wednesday morning in an automobile accident in Huron County, Ohio.

Lovato, 54, died of injuries sustained in a two-vehicle accident on a county road at 8:54 a.m. Wednesday, according to police reports. The report said that Lovato’s vehicle was struck by a car that failed to yield at a stop sign at a rural intersection.

Lovato was the program director of Stampede of Hope, a non-profit in Ohio that uses horseback riding for therapy for children and adults with special needs. She recently completed a course to receive her certification as Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructor, according to the Stampede website.

Frank Lovato Jr., whose father was also a rider, won nearly 1,700 races in a 25-year riding career, mostly in New York. In 1981, he invented the Equicizer, a machine that is nearly ubiquitous in jockey rooms at U.S. tracks, and is a co-founder of Stampede for Hope.

The Lovatos had been married for 31 years. She is survived by three children.