SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — James Long, a jockey who won more than 300 races in his career, has died in a car accident. He was 62.
Shelby County (Kentucky) Sheriff’s spokesman Jason Rice said that Long died Tuesday night after losing control of his car and veering into a grassy median while traveling east on I-64 near Shelbyville. Long’s car catapulted before landing on its nose. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rice said neither drugs nor alcohol are considered factors in the wreck, but the investigation is ongoing and toxicology reports are pending.
One of racing’s few African-American jockeys when he started in the mid-1970s, Long won 309 races and earned more than $2.7 million in 4,029 starts from 1976 to 2008.
Long, born in New York City, won multiple stakes races and earned his first as an apprentice aboard Valid Appeal in the 1975 Dwyer Handicap at Belmont Park, guiding the 14-1 long shot to a three-length victory on a sloppy track.
The Frankfort, Kentucky, resident had recently worked as a steward and clerk of scales at Hazel Park Raceway in Michigan.
“He was real professional and a diligent worker,” Hazel Park assistant director of track operations Mike Stommen said of Long. “Just a pleasant person to work with.”