Incredible story of the dead jockey who came back to life… and raced again the next day

A JOCKEY was declared dead after a horrific fall from a horse – only to come back to life and ride the next day.

They say you have to be tough to be a jockey.

But surely even the toughest haven't got it in them to resurrect like Ralph Neves.


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Incredibly, this story is totally true.

Neves was racing in the US when he found himself penned in by rivals during a contest at Bay Meadows racetrack on May 8, 1936.

The outside horse broke its leg and went crashing into the three others in a mega pile-up.

Neves was not part of the initial carnage but his spooked horse Flanakins sent him flying.

The jockey cracked his skull on the rail next to the track and the other horses trampled over his limp body.

A track doctor rushed out to check for signs of life but could not feel a pulse and declared Neves dead.

Racecourse announcer Oscar Otis told the stunned crowd: "We regret to inform you that jockey Ralph Neves is dead. Please stand in silent prayer."

Transported to a nearby morgue, it looked like the life of Neves had reached a tragic end aged just 19.

But a doctor friend of the jockey's, Horace Stevens, had made his way to the California hospital.

For whatever reason – reports from the time differ – Stevens injected a shot of adrenaline into Neves' heart and the 'dead' jockey sat up alive.

Legend has it he then demanded on returning to the track to race again – just hours after supposedly dying.

But when he returned in front of the 20,000-strong crowd he collapsed in the spot he 'passed away' just hours earlier.

Somehow deemed fit enough to race the next day, Neves did just that.

He finished in the places on all five of his rides – meaning he was top jockey on the day.

His reward was a £360 gold watch donated to the top jockey by legendary American singer Bing Crosby.

Amazingly, Neves, who required brain surgery after another fall in 1959, went onto enjoy a successful career in the saddle.

He racked up 3,772 wins and a spot in the National Racing Hall of Fame before passing away in July 1995 at the age of 78.


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