In a story broken earlier this afternoon by Daily Racing Form and Bloodhorse, jockey Eusebio "Eddie" Razo Jr., 46, was confirmed dead at his home in north suburban Long Grove. According to the Pioneer Local, which first reported the death, the cause of death was related to an explosion at his home.
While he'll be missed in his suburban community and at the racetracks he rode at--Arlington in the summer, Hawthorne in the spring and fall, Oaklawn Park in Arkansas during the winter, Razo will be missed by many more people. More than the people who cashed a bet on him. More than the grooms and trainers and owners who were involved with Razo's rides.
As a handicapper of the Chicago circuit, I remember him as a solid lunch-pail rider who gave honest rides each time, be it in a rich stakes or your lowly weekday claimer. I'd often watch him take his skills to the other midwest tracks--Prairie Meadows in Iowa, for one.
I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Razo in September 2010 at Arlington Park.I then frequented Daily Racing Form's FormBlog forum moderated by Dan Illman. An idea was floated that spring on the forum to have a meetup of epic proportions then, which became known as the FormBlog Convention. It's been successful enough to inspire two sequels (one at Del Mar in San Diego, another at Gulfstream Park in South Florida). A track was selected, one that would be central to many but with a strong home-grown community of followers.
Arlington Park was the choice. The Author was one of its organizers. September 11, Arlington-Washington Futurity Day, and the 12th, the dates.
One perk of the convention was the opportunity to have a race in your namesake. From the September 14,2010 post on Illman's Blog:
"The fifth race was generously titled "The DRF FormBlog Convention," and our group was ushered to the paddock for an up-close and personal view of the horses. There, Jessica Pacheco [on air paddock host] graciously posed for pictures and signed some autographs for some of the bloggers.
Candyonmymind paddles badly with her left fore, but she found a field she could handle, rallying from off the pace to score for Eddie Razo. The track graciously gave us the winner's trophy as well as two pairs of jockey goggles. "
Sure, it was a blah claimer, of the never won two variety. Sure, it was wasn't either of the Grade Three features. But the trophy, the thrill of standing next to Razo...race quality was moot at that moment.
With Arlington Park starting up its meet in a week and a half, I would have appreciated the opportunity to wager on, perhaps meet, Razo again.
I guess it won't be.