‘I Have More to Prove Than Before’: Legendary Jockey Victor Espinoza On What It's Like Returning to Racing After Breaking His Neck

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ne of the first things you’re taught as an equestrian is that falling off is inevitable, and that it’s not a matter of if, but when it will happen. We come to accept the risk and chance of injury in exchange for the adrenaline and joy we feel when riding. A serious fall nearly cost Hall of Fame race jockey Victor Espinoza everything, but his miraculous recovery and return to riding is a prime example of the resiliency of riders.

On a sunny California morning in the summer of 2018, Victor was going about business exercising Thoroughbreds at the Del Mar Racetrack. That day, the 2015 Triple Crown winner was piloting an up-and-coming colt, Bobby Abu Dhabi, for a training session. Coming down the stretch at a full gallop, Bobby Abu Dhabi suddenly crashed to the ground. Victor was subsequently tossed through the air like a rag doll.