Steeplechase champ Kiser dies of injuries

22-year-old rider was hurt in fall at Whiteford home

Horse Racing

July 22, 2000|By Joe Clancy | Joe Clancy,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Champion steeplechase jockey Jonathan Kiser died yesterday from injuries suffered in a fall at his family's home in Whiteford on Thursday. He was 22.

Kiser fell from a rope swing in a tree and suffered a severe head injury. He was flown by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore on Thursday night. A hospital spokeswoman said Kiser was in critical condition early yesterday and confirmed his death in the afternoon.

Kiser, champion National Steeplechase Association jockey in 1997 and 1999, was recognized as one of the most talented riders to join the circuit in some time. Last year, he won 23 races, including the Grade I Joe Aitcheson Novice Stakes at Pimlico and the Maryland Million Steeplechase at Laurel Park.

Kiser dominated the NSA's spring season this year, winning 16 races to open a six-win lead in the standings. In what turned out to be his final ride, he won the Grade I Meadowbrook Stakes aboard Yellowroad at Belmont Park June 8.

Kiser was scheduled to ride four races tomorrow in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Friend and fellow jockey Roger Horgan was with Kiser on Thursday, and was at the hospital until 3 a.m. yesterday.

"We went to lunch after work - we talked about Saratoga," said Horgan. "It's hard to comprehend it - he was 22 and had the world at his feet."

Kiser is survived by his mother Dorothy and sisters Allison Kiser, Heather Kiser and Laurie Mace.

A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Monday at St. James Church in Monkton.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to The Steeplechase Fund, 400 Fair Hill Drive, Elkton MD 21921.

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