On Thursday, March 22, 2018, Parx Racing Hall of Fame rider and the track’s all-time leading money-earner Jose Luis Flores tragically succumbed to injuries suffered from a fall during the ninth race on Monday, March 19, 2018. He is survived by his loving wife, Joanne McDaid-Flores, their seven-year-old son Julien, and two adult sons – Junior and Juan.
The outpouring of support for Jose and his family has been tremendous, and many, many horsemen and fans have expressed an interest in donating to support the Flores family during this difficult time as well as into the future. So, the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (PTHA) has set up The PTHA’s Flores Family Fund in order to gather the many generous donations that are pouring in for Joanne and Julien, for the benefit of his maintenance, healthcare and education.
There are several ways in which to donate into The PTHA’s Flores Family Fund:
1) Send a check or money order to the PTHA. In this way, no fees will be taken out of your donation and all monies will be given directly to Joanne and Julien Flores. Donations may be sent to The PTHA’s Flores Family Fund, c/o PTHA, P. O. Box 300, Bensalem, PA 19020.
2) Donate through GoFundMe. If you are unable to send a check or money order but would still like to donate via credit card, the PTHA set up a GoFundMe campaign.
3) On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, the PTHA and Parx Racing will hold their annual Horsemen’s Awards banquet, an event that saw Jose Flores crowned Leading Jockey in 2004. For this year’s banquet, in addition to the Turning for Home basket auction (which was already established), there will be several items and baskets available for silent auction and raffle, with all proceeds benefitting The PTHA’s Flores Family Fund. Right now, we are looking for basket and silent auction donations. Please contact Danielle Montgomery at Turning for Home as soon as possible if you would like to assist (215-808-7562).
Memories of Jose Luis Flores
“He was a true gentleman rider. He would ride a 60-1 shot as hard as he’d ride a favorite, and work for a two-horse outfit just as soon as a 20-horse barn. He rode for just about every trainer on the grounds. Jose was a good-natured, good-hearted guy. He had money but he loved to ride. He’d say, ‘Why should I stop? I love the morning training, I love the afternoons, I love the camaraderie.’ There must have been 55 people at the hospital Monday night.”
-David Yanuzzi, longtime agent for Jose Flores
“The entire Parx Racing team is deeply saddened by the loss of Parx Hall of Fame Jockey, Jose Flores, who died from injuries suffered in a racing accident on Monday afternoon. Jose was an outstanding jockey who was greatly admired for both his superb talent and his wonderful personality. He embodied all that is good in the world of horse racing, and will be missed immensely. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family, friends and the entire racing community.”
“To know the kind of guy he is, every jockey was at the hospital last night comforting his wife (Joanne). He’s been a mentor to other riders and a professional gentleman at all times. He’s the epitome of what a jockey should be.”
-Sam Elliott, Director of Racing at Parx
“It’s unbelievable… He was just tremendous, a nice guy, always a professional.”
-Scott Lake, trainer at Parx Racing
“He was one of those riders everybody loved. He’s going to be missed because there’s not anybody like him around.”
-Ned Allard, trainer at Parx Racing
“I considered him more than a rider, but as a friend. I realize it was him that made everyone feel like a friend.”
-Tim Smylie, trainer at Parx Racing
“As for Jose, what can you say about pure class? He was it. Very quiet, polite and loved to ride. It was his passion and in his blood. He died doing what he loved to do.”
-Bob Hutt, owner at Parx Racing
“Jose was the ultimate professional and even better person. He treated everyone with respect and kindness whether it be the top trainer or a hotwalker.”
-Victor Collazo, trainer at Parx Racing
“He was and always will be in everyone’s hearts who knew him. Jose was a mentor to me and taught me so much. He was always such a humble person and a great rider to say the least. I am forever grateful to have said I got to ride side by side with him and am even more grateful to call him my friend and brother.”
-Silvestre Gonzalez, jockey at Parx Racing
“Jose will always have a place in my heart. R.I.P. my angel and fly. I thank him for always being a father figure to me. I can’t believe he is gone. These are words that I will never forget papa Flores. Take one step at a time because your other steps may be harder to climb. He will always be a hero and a legend and a role model to others. We love him and will miss him.”
-Rolando Vazquez, exercise rider and former jockey at Parx Racing