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Report: Jockey Douglas paralyzed after rough spill
By Mike Spellman | Daily Herald Staff

R.R. Douglas


John Starks | Staff Photographer

Rene Douglas.


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Published: 5/25/2009 3:38 PM | Updated: 5/25/2009 7:36 PM

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Rene Douglas, the leading jockey at Arlington Park in six of the last eight seasons, remains hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital following a horrifying spill Saturday and overnight surgery that lasted into early Sunday morning.

According to the Daily Racing Form, Douglas remains paralyzed in the lower part of his legs, though the long-term diagnosis remains uncertain until the swelling in his legs decreases.

Doreen Razo, the wife of jockey Eddie Razo, told the Racing Form that Douglas, 42, had compressed the T-5 and T-6 vertebrae in his back.

"The T-5 got jammed into the T-6, and that put pressure on the spinal cord," Razo said.

Douglas was injured while aboard Born to Be during the running of the Arlington Matron Handicap. They were running just behind the leaders as the field turned into the stretch and it appeared the filly was jostled by Sky Mom and then clipped heels, tossing Douglas to the track before eventually landing on him and pinning him to the ground for a few minutes.

The jockey aboard Sky Mom, Jamie Theriot, was handed a 30-day suspension by stewards on Monday for "permitting his mount to jostle another horse - causing the jostled horse to clip heels and fall, injuring both jockey and horse."

Sky Mom was disqualified from fifth and placed last in the race.

Douglas, who has a wife and three children, underwent seven hours of surgery with three doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to the DFR report. He is expected to spend at least two weeks in ICU care.

Rene Douglas file

Age: 42

Birthplace: Panama City, Panama

Career highlights:

• Won the riding title in his first year at Arlington Park (2001)

• Ranks sixth all time at Arlington Park with 651 victories

• Won the 1996 Belmont Stakes aboard Editor's Note

• Picked up his second straight and sixth overall Arlington title in 2008 with 107 victories, including a win aboard Winchester in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes

• Was Arlington's leading rider with 17 wins heading into action Saturday