CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Jockey James Thornton died Sunday, two days after injuring his head in a fall from his horse at Charles Town Races. He was 54.
Thornton of Edgewood, Md., died at Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., track spokesman Paul Espinosa said. He had surgery Friday night to relieve pressure on his brain, but his family ruled out further surgery "due to a poor prognosis," Espinosa said.
Thornton fell early during the first race Friday while riding Shifty Four in tight quarters. Another jockey, Glenn Reeder, was unable to avoid the fallen rider and also fell from his mount, Sales Book, which trampled Thornton. The horses were uninjured.
Espinosa said Thornton is best remembered for a December 1983 race in which he fell from his mount, grabbed the neck of another horse that also fell, then pulled himself into the saddle when that horse got up and rode it to the finish line.