07/18/2013 1:38PM

Suffolk Downs: Track community rallies to aid Terrill

Barbara D. Livingston
Andrea Terrill ranked second in the Suffolk jockey standings with 18 wins before fracturing her skull in a spill on July 8.

EAST BOSTON, Mass. – Long known for taking care of its own, the racetrack community is coming together to rally support for jockey Andria Terrill, who was released from Massachusetts General Hospital on July 16 after suffering injuries in a spill at Suffolk Downs on July 8.

Trainer Jay Bernardini, who has given Terrill the call on many of his starters, said he was talking with the track’s vice president of racing, Sam Elliott, about a fund-raiser. Bernardini also said he had asked one of the owners he trains for, New England Patriots All-Pro nose tackle Vince Wilfork, for an autographed jersey to raffle.

“My friend works for the Red Sox,” said Bernardini, “so I hope to get some items donated by them. My horse Flattering Annie is the barn pet and she won the other day, so all of us in the barn chipped in. Others have, too”

Jockeys’ room custodian Fred Foley, a retired jockey and exercise rider, took up a collection in the room and members of the local colony contributed in excess of $1,000. There is more to come.

“Of course we’ll do what we can for Andria,” said Elliott. “I expect everyone here to be generous and am sure they will be.”

Terrill, who ranked second in the Suffolk jockey standings with 18 wins from 78 mounts who earned $192,183 through July 8, was supposed to ride a horse later on the card on the day she was injured for trainer Joseph Minieri. When that horse won under another rider, Minieri donated what would have been her share to the burgeoning fund.

Terrill was unseated by Chapel’s Beauty after the break of the fourth race and was unconscious on the racetrack after being kicked in the head by a horse. When Terrill regained consciousness, she was taken by ambulance to the hospital for evaluation, which included several CAT scans and multiple MRI’s over the ensuing week, and was treated for three skull fractures and other injuries.

“She’s happy to be home and is doing better, but she’s still got a long way to go,” said her partner and fellow rider, Mario Madrid. “The outpouring of support makes us both feel very good, and we are thankful.”

Bernardini said: “Andria’s attitude is great, and she’s in good spirits. She’s already talking about coming back. She’s a great girl and a good rider, and she was getting really strong. She’ll have her day again.”

Experience counts for Piermarini

Tammi Piermarini had a four-win day July 15 and added a riding double July 17 to extend her lead in the standings as she pursues her fourth consecutive riding title. The third leading all-time woman jockey by wins, she is riding as well as ever at 46.

“It’s all about the horse,” said Piermarini, who rides almost every race on each card. “This isn’t jockey racing, it’s horse racing. But the older you get and the more experience you have can only help. People think I’m under a lot of pressure, but I don’t feel it. Either I win or I lose. All I can do is come out and do my best in every race.”

But she does have pressure away from the track as a wife, mother of three young children, and primary caretaker for a seriously ill father-in-law who lives with the family.

“I have a lot of jobs: nurse, mother, wife, and jockey,” she said. “My schedule never changes.”

Collmus honored

The voice of the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup was a surprise guest announcer for one race Wednesday, and it was like old times for Larry Collmus. Now the track announcer at Monmouth Park and Gulfstream Park, he called at Suffolk from 1992-2008 and was in town to accept the Bob Varey Media Award at the New England Turf Writers Association annual dinner July 18.

The event is also the induction ceremony for the writers’ group’s newest Hall of Fame class, which includes multiple graded stakes-winning trainer Tim Hills; four-time New England-bred champion Ask Queenie and her owner/breeder Lloyd Lockhart; jockey Leroy Moyers; and longtime publicity director Bob Varey.

Chris McCarron, a member of both the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the New England writers’ association’s hall, was also at the track in advance of the dinner and an event with racetrack chaplain Lee Alphen July 19.

◗ Mike Catalano, who went a perfect 5 for 5 with horses he saddled last month, rider Gary Wales, and Evereton “Tweety” Hebert were the recipients of the trainer, jockey, and groom of the month awards for June.