Jockey Michael G Ziegler dies at 52November 20, 2018 8:39 am
Michael G. Ziegler, a veteran jockey and exercise rider, died last week in Oklahoma of an apparent suicide, Ziegler was 52.
Ziegler’s body was discovered by his wife, Jackie, on Tuesday, November 13 after she found a note Ziegler had written, according to trainer Francisco Bravo, for whom Ziegler was galloping horses.
Bravo said Ziegler came to work and galloped horses during regular training Monday at Remington Park and showed no outward signs of distress. Tuesday, cold weather delayed morning training and Ziegler texted Bravo’s assistant to say he was “sick” and “felt like hell.”
“Nobody saw it coming,” said Bravo, who knew Ziegler for 25 years. “He was an upbeat person.”
Ziegler, from southern Minnesota, rode his first race in 1987 and had his best year in terms of wins with 153 in 1990.
He rode 142 winners in 2003 but never approached that total again, and a 2009 article in the Lincoln Journal Star references Ziegler working a full-time manufacturing job and riding at Lincoln Racecourse in Nebraska on the side. Ziegler picked up stray mounts while galloping for Bravo and had nine winners this year, bringing his career total to 2,510.
In addition to his wife, Ziegler is survived by five adult children.
“It’s a great loss to the horse community and especially to our barn,” said Bravo. “He was an excellent horseman.”