Tears shed at Santa Anita for distant friend
Ed Vaughan gives Nicholas Godfrey his reaction and personal tribute to Freddy Tylicki, who should have been riding at the Breeders' Cup on Saturday
It was a pretty emotional day here at Santa Anita yesterday, I can tell you. Freddy's held in such high regard by everybody that knows him. We were all in tears yesterday but Freddy is a tough guy and I'm sure he's gonna pull through this.
I had just sat down for lunch and someone phoned me and told me. You could've knocked me over with a feather. I had a bad feeling because it looked a horrific fall, so I had bad vibes, but you're always hopeful. You can never prepare yourself for something like this – all our thoughts are with his family. They're a very close family and all our thoughts are with them and Freddy now.
He's always been good but he just needed the opportunity to get on these good horses and when he did he proved he's as good as anybody out there. His career had just really taken off and we were going to see him soar to great heights. It's so sad that his career has been cut down so sharply.
Real team player
We're only a small stable and he was always our first option if he could ride when he didn't have other commitments. He's had a 28 per cent strike-rate for us over the last couple of years – there's never been a time when I've had to say "Freddy, you should've won on that" or "you should've done this or that". He's always right place, right time.
He's a real team player. He's always cared about the horses, always asking you about them, took an interest in every horse in the yard. If one ran badly, he'd always ask if they came out of the race okay or whether anything had come of it, just to find out. He really cares.
I was with Frankie [Dettori] and Ryan [Moore] and we were just numb about the whole thing. It's just a tough pill to swallow. They're a close community – Jamie Spencer rang me yesterday and he said: "You know, you hear about these things but it's really so close to home this time." It really has affected everybody. It's just shocking.
A few hours before he went to Kempton he'd just been to London and had his visa approved so he could ride Mehronissa over here. He spent a winter at Santa Anita with Paddy Gallagher when he was champion apprentice and he was really looking forward to coming back here; he was absolutely buzzing about the trip.
He was planning on making a week out of it and he worships this filly – he won on her first time out at Newmarket and he's ridden her nearly every time since and it's so sad he can't be here. He's mad about this filly.