-photo by Coady Photography
|Trainer Ramon Flores Killed in Automobile
The Texas horse racing community lost a valued member
on Tuesday, February 25, when trainer Ramon Flores died in an automobile
accident. Flores and one of his grooms, Rafael Hernandez, were hauling
three horses to Sunland Park when they lost control of the van on an icy
patch of road near Schulenberg, Texas. Flores died instantly. Hernandez
and the horses were in good condition.
"Ramon Flores was a fine trainer and an up and coming talent,"
said Robert L. Bork, president and general manager at Sam Houston Race
Park. "We are devastated by his untimely death and express our sympathy
to his wife, Amy and his two young children. This is a very sad loss for
the entire racing community."
Flores, 34, was fifth in the trainer standings at Sam Houston Race Park
with a record of 104 starts, 16 wins, 12 seconds and 12 thirds. His horses
have earned $182,396 through February 23.
Flores had won the $75,000 Martanza Handicap on Texas Champions Day
with Manzottina for Cuadra Valedor of Mexico City. Respected by his fellow
horsemen, Flores was regarded as an excellent horseman with a very "hands
on" approach to training.
Many riders in the Sam Houston Race Park jockey colony rode for Flores,
but he was extremely close to John Jacinto. Jacinto, last year’s
leading rider, credits Flores for much of his success.
"The very first winner (Lexiesride on December 22, 2000) at Sam
Houston was for Ramon," recalled a shaken Jacinto. "He was very
close to me, like a father. I felt confident with Ramon because he knew
each of his horses so well and was a really good trainer. When I won he
congratulated me, but even when I did something wrong, he never got mad.
He treated each of his horses with respect and patience. It didn’t
matter if it was a stakes horse or a claimer, he was very good to each
"Ramon was probably the most honest trainer that I have ever known,"
said Israel Florez, owner of Kentucky Bay, the first stakes winner Ramon
trained. "He was a very hard worker and was kind to all of his horses."
Flores is survived by his wife, Amy, son Fernando, 8 and daughter, Brisenia,
who just turned one.
Donations may be sent to the Ramon Flores Fund in care of the Racetrack
Chaplaincy of Texas, 7575 Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston, Texas, 77064.