(The following post was written by Diego Mitagstein, editor of Turf Diario.)
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina–In Palermo, the rumors were flying about Brazilian jockey Jorge Ricardo.
Intelligent, the jockey acted rapidly, calling for a press conference in the stewards room at 7:15 pm yesterday.
Punctual, the professional entered the room, accompanied by Ricardo and Nicolás Benedicto, Enrique Sauro and Alejandro Menditeguy, all of them part of Rubio B., the stable for which the jockey rides. There, quite close to them, was the journalist Marcelo Durán, a buddy of the carioca star.
Ricardo Benedicto spoke and without skipping a beat announced: “From today, Jorge will stop riding because he has to solve a health problem. To avoid misrepresentations and many commentaries that already circulate, we wanted to announce it to the public.”
Ricardo, who has more wins than anyone on the continent and is the second-leading rider by wins in the history of thoroughbred racing with over 10,000, has a low grade of lymphoma, a disease that affects the immunological system and that must be treated with chemotherapy.
Ricardo, with sadness, amplified the commentery of the owner of Rubio B.: “Two years ago, I found out about this problem. It is at the stage where I have to get treatment. For me to recover, I have to do what [I] did not want: to stop riding. I take the topic as if it was one more race, and not only I am going to return to ride, but I am going to return to win.”
The rider’s condition worsened after the fall he suffered in Brazil in the Group 1 Latinoamericano in March, which kept him out of the saddle for months and allowed US rival Russell Baze to pass him by number of wins.
Loquacious, the 47-year-old Ricardo continued: “I am grateful to Ricardo and Nicolás, for Enrique and for the whole team for everything they did for me. Sometimes life has surprises, but we have to continue. I did not want my children to know, but I now believe that it is better to face the reality and to tell the truth.” Ricardo travelled this morning from Brazil, where he will get chemotherapy treatment that will consist of five sessions over 120 days.