Ralph Neves © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
A horseshoe, nailed above a door, with the open area facing upward is said to bring good luck. But a horse shoe, nailed to the hoof of a race horse, colliding with other stumbling horses and landing on its jockey, would not be said to offer anything but bad luck. The Bay Meadows Racetrack, south of San Francisco was the scene of such an event in the spring of 1936. The unfortunate jockey's name was Ralph Neves and when the medics arrived at Ralph's side he was not responsive. They took him to the first aid room and a doctor there pronounced him dead. There was a moment of silence in the stands, in honor of poor Ralph and his body was taken to the morgue at the local hospital, where another doctor administered a shot of adrenaline directly into his heart, in a last-ditch effort to revive him. There was no response and this doctor confirmed that Ralph was dead.

A few minutes later Ralph got up and walked out of the hospital wearing only his jockey pants and a boot and he made his way back to the racetrack. When he walked onto the field, heading for the jockey's dressing room, covered in blood and wearing only pants, a boot and a toe-tag, the crowd went nuts. He insisted the authorities let him resume his schedule of races for that day, but was turned down until tests could determine the status of his health. He resumed his career as a jockey and won thousands of races before he retired in 1964. He died peacefully at 79. Later he was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in Florida.

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