North American Racing Academy Graduate Severely Injured During Race

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Michael Straight, 23, a 2009 North American Racing Academy (NARA) graduate was thrown from the horse he was riding on Wednesday at Arlington Park in Chicago. His horse apparently suffered a heart attack during the eighth race. Straight landed heavily on the ground and fractured four vertebras. He has not regained consciousnesses.

Michael Straight, 23, a 2009 North American Racing Academy (NARA) graduate was thrown from the horse he was riding on Wednesday at Arlington Park in Chicago. His horse apparently suffered a heart attack during the eighth race. Straight landed heavily on the ground and fractured four vertebras. He has not regained consciousnesses.

“This is such a tragedy,” said Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) President Michael B. McCall. “The thoughts and prayers of our entire KCTCS faculty, staff and students go out to the Straight family.”

Doctors are not disclosing the details of Straight’s injuries, but have mentioned he is experiencing paraplegic signs. They say the four hour surgery to stabilize his spin went well.

“Hearing one of your graduates has gone down is not the news you ever want to receive,” said Chris McCarron, director of the NARA. “The students are an extended part of my family. My heart aches.”

Straight recently won his first career race at Tampa Bay Downs. He rode to the winner’s circle aboard Ready Ruler on March 6. Since his initial race, Straight has won several races at the same track and was named Jockey of the Month. Straight has won 39 total races since he began his career and is currently the leading apprentice at Arlington Park.

Straight came to Kentucky in September 2007 from East Greenbush, New York to complete courses at the NARA under the tutelage of Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron. He is the twin brother of the very successful apprentice jockey Matthew Straight (2008 NARA graduate).

NARA is an equine program of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and is the first college-affiliated horse racing academy in the United States. KCTCS facilitates the development of NARA by providing direction for academic courses, through Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), that lead to certifications.

For most Kentuckians, higher education begins at KCTCS. Our statewide system of 16 colleges and 67 campuses provides citizens throughout the Commonwealth with a quality education that is both accessible and affordable. For more information, visit http://www.kctcs.edu.

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Terri Giltner
KCTCS
859-256-3186
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Heather Baber
KCTCS
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