According to a statement released on Saturday by the Oldsmar, Florida track, exercise rider Daniel Quintero was killed in a training accident early on the morning of January 21. 19-year-old Quintero aspired to be a jockey.
Marty McGee of the Daily Racing Form states that Quintero was riding a horse trained by Robert Werneth. Locals say Quintero’s feet were out of the irons when the horse took off in the incorrect direction (clockwise) and collided with another galloper (traveling counterclockwise). According to reports, Quintero was killed instantaneously upon impact. The second rider and horse survived the mishap unhurt.
Sydney Fried, a pony rider at Tampa Bay Downs, remembers Daniel as “an intelligent young man.” Even though he didn’t have a strong foundation in the language, he was determined to improve his English every day. Everything around him captured his constant attention. He always felt comfortable asking questions, and his learning was rapid after receiving an explanation.
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Venezuelan rider Quintero had only recently arrived at Tampa Bay Downs, having made the trek north after spending some time galloping at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach. At Palm Meadows in December of this year, Fried met Quintero.
“I don’t think I ever saw him without a smile on his face, and he was always trying to put a smile on yours,” Fried remarked. He was not at all lethargic; rather, he was eager to learn and enthusiastic about doing so. The only way to improve is to practice, and Daniel was not scared to do so.
To lose someone who would always be one of the first to greet the day is a great loss. Everyone who had the honor of knowing Daniel will suffer greatly tomorrow.
Longtime jockey José L. Verenzuela, who tweeted his condolences in Spanish alongside a photo of Quintero wearing his riding helmet, was among others who took to social media to express their sadness.
Edgar Prado, a legendary jockey who has gone on to enter the Hall of Fame, also posted encouraging words on Edgar’s Facebook wall.
Jockeys and their valets observe a moment of silence in honor of 19-year-old exercise rider Daniel Quintero, who died this morning in a training accident. pic.twitter.com/CqKVUFPQEF
— Tampa Bay Downs (@TampaBayDownsFL) January 21, 2023
Before the first post on Saturday’s card, the crowd at Tampa Bay Downs paused for a moment of silence in honor of Quintero at 12:20 p.m. ET. The band sent their condolences to Quintero’s loved ones.