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Michael Straight Updates - Updated Jan. 6, 2010

| Churchill Downs Communications | 01/06/2010 #

REPORT: STRAIGHT EXPERIENCES MOVEMENT IN TOES
A report in at the Albany Times Union website indicated that jockey Michael Straight, who was injured in an Aug. 26 racing accident, has experienced some movement in his toes for the first time since the accident. Read the full report here.

STRAIGHT FAMILY THANKS ALL WHO CAME OUT FOR OCT. 25 BENEFIT

Jockey Michael Straight and his family wish to thank everyone for their generosity and support at the benefir for injured rider that was held on Sunday, Oct. 25 at Philly G's in Vernon Hills. A fun time was had by all in attendance and a significant amount of money was raised for Mike and his family as he continues to recover at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

STRAIGHT MOVED TO REHABILITATION INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

Jockey Michael Straight has been moved from Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to continue his recover.

Cards may be sent to Mike at:
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
345 E. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Attn: Michael Straight (patient)

BENEFIT FOR JOCKEY MICHAEL STRAIGHT OCT. 25

A benefit to assist jockey Michael Straight, who was seriously injured in an Aug. 26 racing accident at Arlington Park, has been planned for Sunday, Oct. 25 from 6 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. at Philly G's Restaurant in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

The event, which is open to the public, costs $50 per person and includes an evening of Hors d'Oeuvres, live music by Beatles tribute band Strawberry Fields Forever, singer Victor Pacini and additional entertainment to be announced.

Additional fund raising efforts at the benefit will include raffles, games and a cash bar with proceeds earmarked to help offset the medical costs being incurred by the 23-year-old apprentice rider as he continues to recover from the injuries suffered in the spill.

Reservations/RSVPs are strongly encouraged as a full house is anticipated for this benefit. You can RSVP via e-mail to slapshotracing@comcast.net.

CLICK HERE to RSVP - slapshotracing@comcast.net

Those unable to attend the event but wishing to make a tax deductible contribution to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund earmarked for Michael Straight can do so by sending a check payable to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, in care of Michael Straight, 547 Webford Avenue, Des Plaines, Ill. 60016.

Straight remains hospitalized at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, but it is expected that he will be moved to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in the coming days to continue his therapy.

Join us to help Michael on his road to recovery. If you are unable to attend, your generous tax deductible contribution is most appreciated.

Checks Payable to:
Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund
c/o Michael Straight
547 Webford Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60016


SEPT. 15 UPDATE

Mike was recently transferred from ICU to a private room and is continuing to make progress. The Straight Family thanks everyone for their well wishes and generosity.

Get well cards can be sent to Mike at:
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
1775 W. Dempster St.
Park Ridge, IL 60068
Attention: Michael Straight, patient

Donations to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockeys Fund, earmarked for Michael Straight should be sent to P.O. Box 18470/Encino, CA 91416. For more information on the MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, please visit: http://www.macbethfund.org/

SATURDAY, SEPT. 5 UPDATE FROM MATTHEW STRAIGHT ON THE CONDITION OF HIS BROTHER MICHAEL STRAIGHT

Jockey Matthew Straight, twin brother of apprentice jockey Michael Straight who was injured in a Aug. 26 incident at Arlington Park, has issued the following statement regarding the condition of his brother.

"Mike is completely off the sedatives and the doctors are expecting to remove the ventilator today or tomorrow. Once he's able to communicate with us, it will make everything a lot better. He's still fighting.

"He's doing well. He's stable and he's hanging in there. It's going to be a long road to recovery, but with the continued thoughts and prayers for our family, we'll get through it."

Note: Matthew is named to ride Smile Stable's More Than Able in today's 4th race at Arlington Park, a 1 1/16-mile turf race. The Jan Ely-trained horse had been ridden by Michael in his previous four starts, including a victory on June 7. This will be Matthew's first mount since his brother was injured.

"I came up here the other day to be by my brother's side, so I wanted to get back in the saddle and see how I felt. I'm riding a horse that Mike has ridden the past four times and recently won on. Hopefully, I can get a winner for him.

"All the jockeys (around the country) have been asked to donate one (losing) mount fee for Mike through the Don MacBeth Memorial Fund, and hopefully we can raise a little more awareness and a little more money (toward the medical expenses). It's very generous what the Jockeys' Guild and the PDJF put together for today.

With regard to getting back on horses (Matt exercised horses this morning at Arlington):
"Once you get out there and get on the horses, you kind of clear you r mind of everything. Obviously, there were a few butterflies at first and I'm sure there will be today, but it's what I want to do. It's what me and my brother both love to do. We all know we are signing up for when we start riding."

Note: Matthew will continue to issue updates as appropriate.

 

THURSDAY SEPT. 4 STATEMENT FROM MATTHEW STRAIGHT IN REGARD TO JOCKEYS' GUILD UPCOMING FUNDRAISING EFFORT FOR MICHAEL

Jockey Matthew Straight, twin brother of apprentice jockey Michael Straight who was injured in a Aug. 26 incident at Arlington Park, has issued the following statement regarding Saturday's fundraising effort for Mike.

"My family wants to thank the Jockeys' Guild and our fellow riders for their generosity and support for Mike as he continues to recover from his injuries."

Note: Matthew is named to ride Smile Stable's More Than Able in Saturday's 4th race at Arlington Park, a 1 1/16-mile turf race. The Jan Ely-trained horse had been ridden by Michael in his previous four starts, including a victory on June 7.

"With the national fundraising effort for Mike taking place that day, I really wanted to be able to be part of it and ride a horse. This horse is one that Mike had been riding and won on. It would really be great to win one for Mike that day."

Note: Matthew will continue to issue updates on Michael's condition as appropriate.

JOCKEYS' GUILD PRESS RELEASE:
INJURED JOCKEY MICHAEL STRAIGHT TO BE HONORED SATURDAY
JOCKEYS NATIONALLY ASKED TO DONATE ONE MOUNT FEE TO MEDICAL FEES

Jockeys throughout the U.S. and Canada will exhibit their unified show of support for apprentice jockey Michael Straight this Saturday.

Straight was critically injured in a race at Arlington Park on August 26.

Jockeys across the nation are being asked to donate one mount fee Saturday to the Don MacBeth Memorial Fund earmarked for Michael Straight to help defray costs of his long-term needs. They will also be riding with two patches on their boots, one in honor of Michael Straight and the other paying tribute to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) which currently aids 60 permanently disabled jockeys.

Straight, a native of East Greenbush, New York, graduated from Chris McCarron's North American Racing Academy in 2008 and has 39 winners from 372 races.

"We appreciate the generosity of the jockeys, racetracks and fans throughout the country," said John Velazquez, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jockeys' Guild. "We think it is important that those who love the sport of racing show support for Michael at this critical time. We are in his corner.

"As jockeys, we want to do our part for those in racing that have been less fortunate," said jockey Robby Albarado, Member of the Board of Directors of the Jockeys' Guild.

"The racing industry needs to come together to take care of our own, be they jockeys, exercise riders, grooms or hotwalkers. All those involved in racing," jockey Mike Smith, a member of the Jockeys' Guild Senate, added.

"These charities are critical to the industry and the Jockeys' Guild is donating $7,000 to the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance to help make the sport safer for all involved, both human and equine," said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys' Guild. "The industry will never be strong if we can't provide for those in the industry that need help as a result of life-changing events. Racing seems to be facing this problem now more than ever before and we need to continue on that path."

The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, formed last October with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen's organization. Alliance certification standards cover five broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties;

"The Jockey's Guild's generous contribution will help the Alliance's ongoing work on a number of fronts, including its commitment to the health and safety of jockeys," said Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. "This is a wonderful prelude to the Alliance's national fundraising days, which will take place at racetracks across North America during the Labor Day weekend."

While contributions for Michael Straight are to be directed to the MacBeth Fund, permanently disabled jockeys depend on the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) for assistance.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael and his family," said Nancy LaSala, Executive Director of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. "This sport has its inherent risks and we ask that you keep all of those who have met with misfortune in your thoughts."

Contributions to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockeys Fund earmarked for Michael Straight should be sent to P.O. Box 18470, Encino, CA 91416. For more information on the MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, please visit www.macbethfund.org.

Donations to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund should be sent to P.O.Box 803, Elmhurst, IL 60126 or information and online contributions can be made at www.pdjf.org.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 2 UPDATE FROM MATTHEW STRAIGHT ON THE CONDITION OF HIS BROTHER MICHAEL STRAIGHT
Jockey Matthew Straight, twin brother of apprentice jockey Michael Straight who was injured in a Aug. 26 incident at Arlington Park, has issued the following statement regarding the condition of his brother.

"Mike had a minor procedure this morning to remove a little air build-up in his lungs, which the doctors tell me is common for people on a ventilator. That procedure was successful.

"He had an MRI yesterday and the results came back as expected - that there is a head injury and a spinal injury. The doctors say the head injury will heal on its own in time.

"He still has no feeling in his lower body but until the swelling around the spine goes down, we are keeping positive thoughts.

"He is responding to commands and shakes his head "Yes" and "No" when responding to questions and holding up fingers when asked."

NYRA NEWS RELEASE FOLLOWS:

SHADWELL TRAVERS JOCKEYS WILL DONATE PERCENTAGE OF PURSE EARNINGS TO HELP INJURED RIDER MICHAEL STRAIGHT
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jockeys riding in Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes have pledged 10 percent of their purse earnings from the race to establish a fund for 23-year-old apprentice jockey Michael Straight, who was critically injured in a fall at Arlington Park on Wednesday.

The fund will be set up through the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in Encino, Calif., whose mission is to assist injured and disabled riders.

"This was an easy decision," said John Velazquez, chairman of the Jockeys' Guild and rider of Quality Road, the morning line favorite in the Shadwell Travers. "What happened to Michael is a tragedy and we want to do whatever we can to help support him and his family during this difficult time."

In addition to Velazquez, all six other riders in the Shadwell Travers - Julien Leparoux, Ramon Dominguez, Calvin Borel, Alan Garcia, Kent Desormeaux and Edgar Prado - will donate 10 percent of their purse earnings.

"Our family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the industry," said Matthew Straight, Michael's twin brother, also a jockey. "We are so grateful and appreciative. We need to all stay positive and keep praying."

Michael Straight was injured and taken to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. following an incident in the eighth race Wednesday at Arlington Park. Straight fell from his mount and suffered injuries to the spine, including four broken vertebrae. Doctors at Lutheran General Hospital performed spinal surgery on Thursday and inserted a flexible rod to stabilize the spine.

Straight, a native of East Greenbush, N.Y., graduated from Chris McCarron's North American Racing Academy in 2008. He won the first race of his career at Tampa Bay Downs in March 2009 and has ridden a total of 39 winners in 372 races.

The Jockeys' Guild is making plans to put together a national effort to support Michael and his family at next Saturday's races across the country. Details will be released as soon as plans are finalized.

Donations to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockeys Fund, earmarked for Michael Straight should be sent to P.O. Box 18470/Encino, CA 91416. For more information on the MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, please visit: http://www.macbethfund.org/

SATURDAY MORNING STATEMENT FROM MATTHEW STRAIGHT

Jockey Matthew Straight, twin brother of apprentice jockey Michael Straight who was injured in a Wednesday incident at Arlington Park, has issued the following statement regarding the condition of his brother.

Mike is now responsive to commands. We know it's going to be a slow step-by-step process but we are staying optimistic and staying strong. He is scheduled to undergo a few procedures today.

"We are working on setting up a fund for those wishing to contribute and as soon as we have those details - we will pass that information along.

"Please continue to keep Mike in your thoughts and prayers."

Note: Matthew will continue to issue updates as appropriate.

FRIDAY MORNING (AUG. 28) STATEMENT FROM MATTHEW STRAIGHT
Jockey Matthew Straight, twin brother of apprentice jockey Michael Straight who was injured in a Wednesday incident at Arlington Park, has issued the following statement regarding the condition of his brother.

"Mike's surgery last night was successful and everything went as planned. The doctors said it could not have gone any better. We know there is still a long way to go and now it's just a waiting game to see how good and how quick he heals up.

"He's off the majority of sedation and we're waiting for him to come out of it on his own. We know it's going to be a long road back and we're not going anywhere.

"Everybody has been so supportive with phone calls, e-mails and even Facebook messages. It hasn't gone unnoticed. Our family appreciates the support and the love. It's times like this that bring everyone together. Please keep Mike in your prayers.

"We appreciate everyone's support but also ask that you respect our family's privacy and when we feel it is the appropriate time to talk more publicly, we will do so."

Note: Matthew will continue to issue updates as appropriate.

UPDATE - AUG 27, 2009 AT NOON: STATEMENT FROM MATTHEW STRAIGHT ON CONDITION OF HIS BROTHER MICHAEL STRAIGHT

Jockey Matthew Straight, twin brother of apprentice jockey Michael Straight who was injured in a Wednesday incident at Arlington Park, has issued the following statement regarding the condition of his brother.

"As of Noon (central time) today, Mike is stable and is scheduled to undergo surgery later this afternoon. The surgery is expected to last several hours. We will issue a further update Friday morning."

ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE - AUG. 26, 2009
Apprentice jockey Michael Straight was taken to Lutheran General Hospital following an incident in the eighth race Wednesday at Arlington Park.

Straight, 24, was riding Im No Genetleman in the mile and a sixteenth race when his mount appeared to have clipped heels with another horse in the vicinity of the quarter pole and the rider fell to the track.

Straight was tended to by track paramedics and after being stabilized was transported to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge for further evaluation.

Hospital officials indicated that his vital signs were good and that after being checked for head and back injuries that the rider would likely undergo surgery to stabilize the back sometime in the next 24 hours.

Straight's parents and twin brother Matthew, who is also a jockey, are en route to Chicago to be with the rider through his recovery.

Further information will be made available as it is received from the rider's family.