Juan Becerra, an exercise rider for trainer Steve Asmussen, died Monday after failing to regain consciousness following a riding accident at Belmont Park last Friday. He would have turned 44 this Saturday.
Becerra was galloping a horse on the training track last Friday and fell from his mount with about an eighth of a mile remaining in the gallop, according to Asmussen’s Belmont-based assistant Toby Sheets. It is not clear if he started to become unconscious while still on the horse or after he fell. Becerra was not stepped on by another horse and the horse he was on was not injured, according to Sheets.
Sheets said he was told that Becerra had “blood on his brain.”
Becerra was taken to Winthrop Hospital where he was ultimately placed on life support. Becerra was removed from life support on Monday after consultation with his family. An autopsy was to be performed to determine the cause of death.
“He was my right arm,” said Sheets, who added that Becerra worked for him at Belmont for about five years. “He was a super good guy. He did everything without being asked.”
Becerra had several family members involved in racing including a brother, Guillermo Becerra, who worked on Chester and Mary Broman’s farm in upstate New York. The Bromans are among the leading owners and breeders of New York-breds.
Becerra is survived by a wife, three children, and two grandchildren.
Plans for a memorial service are pending, according to Humberto Chavez, the chaplain on the backstretch of New York Racing Association tracks.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.