By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Mexican-born apprentice jockey Jose Mariano Asencio has a message for his friends and fans that nobody can put into words better than the courageous and charming 20-year-old himself:
“I am doing very well. Better every day. I am walking without crutches and have no more pain. When I was feeling bad I made myself feel better thinking of all the people who supported me. I want to thank every one of them.”
Young Jose left a huge Hastings crowd in deafening silence when he was involved in a horrific spill aboard McCallum on Sunday, June 4. While the horse walked away uninjured, Asencio wasn’t as fortunate. He suffered a fractured vertebra in his back, a broken tibia bone in his leg among other injuries and underwent multiple surgeries at Vancouver General Hospital.
Jose’s father Gabriel, also a jockey at Hastings, never left his son’s bedside during his 11 days in hospital. Jose’s agent Ryan Deyotte said: “He is a very positive, bright, cheerful and happy kid who loves riding horses. He is feeling fortunate. It could have been worse.”
Through Deyotte’s efforts and with the support of Hastings management and the racetrack community, a GoFundMe page was set up in Jose’s name to help defray medical expenses and provide for his mother’s trip from Mexico.
Deyotte advised that WorkSafe BC does not insure jockeys because the job is too dangerous. Jose would receive basic medical coverage and some benefits from the Jockeys Guild. “But because he is a new jockey and hasn’t paid into the benefit plan for long,” Deyotte said, “it won’t be much.”
Jose’s mom was able to make the trip to Vancouver and while he was thrilled to have her stay with him, it did have a humourous downside.
“She cooked all my favourite Mexican dishes every day for almost three months,” Jose laughs. “It was nice but I am seven pounds heavier than my riding weight. I ride at 110 or 111 pounds. Today I weigh 118.”
Jose does stretching exercises and runs and swims every day as part of his ongoing physiotherapy.
“I will be back riding next year, I have promised myself,” he says. His father, for one, has no doubts. “Jose has grown up wanting to be a jockey,” Gabriel says. “I don’t think anything will stop him.”
(Editor’s Note – Jose has agreed to be our Guest Decorator for today’s featured Fantasy Stakes. We know you will give him a warm Hastings welcome).