Death of Jockey Megan Taylor at Ashburton Raceway

It is with great sadness that we report the death of horse jockey Megan Taylor. Ms. Taylor lost her life in a horse racing accident on December 15, 2022. Megan Taylor was considered to be one of the most talented apprentice riders on the New Zealand horse racing circuit. We extend our sincere condolences to her family.

Tragic Accident Reminds Horse Racing Bettors of the Dangers

It was a normal race day at Ashburton Raceway. Taylor was riding Red Orchid, a horse that showed great promise. As the gates broke that day, no one could have known the tragedy that was about to unfold. A collision on the race track sent four horses down.

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Three other jockeys were treated for minor injuries as a result of the spill. Taylor was initially given aid by the attendants at Ashburton Raceway but later succumbed to her injuries. It is one of the most devastating falls to happen in the track’s history.

Well wishes were quick to pour in from other members of the horse racing community in New Zealand and throughout the world. Megan Taylor was just 26 years old.

The Racing Integrity Board of New Zealand is expected to conduct a full investigation into the accident. It is a sad reality that jockeys all over the world must face these dangers every day that they ride, often for very little money.

The Difficult Life of Horse Racing Jockeys

Jockeys in the sport of thoroughbred horse racing are subjected to dangerous working conditions. Someone once compared riding a horse to balancing on the hood of a car going 40 miles per hour. Most jockeys enter the business of professional horse racing with the awareness that it is when, not if, they will be injured.

Some jockeys have been forced to endure multiple injuries throughout their career. Randy Romero famously went down aboard Go For Wand in the Breeders’ Cup. The fall caused the death of the horse, and Romero was left with life-threatening injuries. But it isn’t just dangers on the race track that riders must face. Romero was also almost killed in a spa at Oaklawn Park as he tried to reduce his weight.

The alcohol that Romero applied to his body caught fire, leaving the jockey with massive burns. In his later years Romero rarely spoke of the accidents, preferring to share more pleasant memories. But he also said that it took many years for the nightmares to stop.

Megan Taylor now joins the ranks of many famous jockeys that have given their life for the sport of horse racing. Among those, George Woolf is one that stands out.

Woolf is famously remembered as the rider of the legendary Seabiscuit in his match race against War Admiral. Woolf lost his life at the age of 35 at Santa Anita Park. He fell from the horse Please Me during a race. Some have speculated that Woolf may have passed out from diabetes complications and the weight reduction practices he was undergoing.

There have been many others. Perhaps the saddest part of this story is that jockeys are not paid large sums of money unless they win.

Risking Life and Limb for $60

At many horse racing tracks the average pay for jock mount is around $60. This is the money given to all jockeys regardless of how they finish in a race. The top 3-5 jockeys in a race are the only ones who receive more than this meager amount for racing.

Even the top riders must then pay their agents as much as 25% of their earnings. Other fees are paid to the valet who washes and cleans the rider’s clothes.

It is something that the average bettor in horse races may not give much thought to. The next time that you are wagering with an online horse betting site, remember those like Megan Taylor that have fallen.

For online Horse betting sites, check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!


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