Jockey Ron Turcotte, paralyzed from the waist down in a 1978 spill at Belmont Park, lost a $105-million lawsuit against owners of the track in the New York Court of Appeals.
The court, reversing a decision by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, ruled that, as a jockey, Turcotte knew the dangers of thoroughbred racing and willingly assumed any of the risks involved.
"It would be a rare thing, indeed, if the election of a professional athlete to participate in a sport at which he makes his living could be said to be involuntary," the court said in a unanimous opinion.
No damages had been awarded in the suit. The New York Racing Assn., owners of Belmont Park, had sought to have the suit dismissed before it came to trial, but the Appellate Division denied that motion.