Gulfstream exercise rider dies


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Exercise rider Mary Rafferty died yesterday, five days after being thrown to the track at Gulfstream Park with such violent force that her spine was crushed.

Rafferty died at Memorial Hospital. She was 41.

Rafferty was thrown to the Hallandale track Monday morning when Vindication, a 4-year-old filly, broke a leg and fell. The exercise rider was knocked unconscious and never awoke.

"I thought highly of her in every regard," said Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, who employed her. "She was extremely dedicated and made a tremendous sacrifice to work with horses. Working in New York, Mary used to drive from New Jersey to do her job. Mary wanted to be a trainer and she read everything on the subject."

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