The marvelous comeback story of jockey David Cohen

Soon after being born on Oct. 29, 1984, in Torsen, California, David Cohen was introduced to the horse racing scene with his dad. Morry Cohen was a well-respected and renowned owner, breeder and trainer on the California circuit, and David dove right into the family business. He started out by dividing young horses for his dad and progressed to becoming a groom and finally a trainer’s helper.
David Cohen then spent several years in Las Vegas before going back to California to graduate from Laguna Beach High School. He started his riding career the next year, in 2004 at the age of 19, also notched his first winner a brief time afterwards at Del Mar on Aug. 11, aboard a horse named Quiten Boy, at chances of 45/1.
Head east, young man
Cohen later moved his tack to the eastern seaboard and secured riding names in Philadelphia Park (Parx) and Delaware Park before settling in New York. In 2009, he ranked sixth in the nation in wins, also in 2010, he had been the next leading rider among the big boys at the New York ovals, dropping the riding title to Hall of Fame jockey Ramon Dominguez.
In 2012, Cohen was having one of the greatest years of his career once he showed up in Saratoga for the Travers Stakes to ride a longshot named Golden Ticket. He would take on Alpha, a three-time stakes winner and the 2/1 favorite from the favorite Godolphin barn.
As the race went off, both colts stalked the early pace and procured good position. As they turned for home, Cohen and Golden Ticket shot through a opening on the rail and got clear in the stretch at odds of 33/1.
But the classy Alpha was launching a sustained bid of his own at the middle of the racetrack, also as Golden Ticket drained a little nearing the cable, Alpha surged to make it a photo finish. The end result has been a dead-heat, which remains the sole such outcome in the 149 runnings of the Travers. Cohen just about transported a weary Golden Ticket to the wire.
The pain train
On Feb. 1, 2014, David Cohen walked to the paddock at Aqueduct and was about to climb aboard a horse named Recoupe. He did not have a clue that this horse would change his life dramatically. Since Cohen stepped to the side of this horse, Recoupe suddenly reared and kicked outward striking Cohen in the right leg, seriously fracturing his fibula and tibia, which necessitated operation between a plate and six screws.
Cohen worked to get back into the match and was able to return to ride two weeks after suffering his injury. He rode for a week and competed in six races, however, the rider had returned too soon. His injuries had not treated to the point of him being ready to ride.
In the midst of attempting to heal from his physical injuries, Cohen would also experience some significant mental challenges. His father became seriously ill and eventually succumbed to complications from cancer.
«Growing up, my father was in the company as an owner and a trainer,» Cohen said. «As a family, we’d go to Del Mar for your summer. My brother, sister and Mom would go to the shore, and I would go to the racetrack as a young child. I had been glued to my father’s side. When I became a jockey, he went to work with me all the time. He travelled with me to Dubai, to Japan. He must experience everything with me. We were close as can be. We were inseparable.»
Cohen was attempting to inch ahead and recuperate from his physical problems, as well as deal with the pain of his dad’s death, when he had been hit with yet another personal tragedy. His older sister, Dana, had died suddenly from a head injury.
«Although she was my older sister, I played with that older brother function,» Cohen said. «She and I were very close. The two closest people in my immediate family were removed from within a year-and-a-half of another»
Cohen took some time off and struggled for a good while but eventually figured out exactly what he had to do. He missed the trail and his buddies. He missed the competition along with the horses, and he missed riding in the sand. David Cohen needed to ride again to cure.
Allow the healing begin
On November 30, 2017, in the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Cohen rallied for his first race back after a three-and-a-half-year absence. He finished fourth on the muddy racetrack that he missed dearly, however, the comeback ride was every bit a winning trip for him and the fans. The kid was back into the game.
Since his comeback, Cohen was a busy man. He is ridden at the Fair Grounds, Churchill Downs, Woodbine, Del Mar, the New York ovals, and now he’s found a home at Oaklawn.
He’s ridden in over 9,000 races in his career and accumulated around $50 million in earnings. He’s endured the physical pain of a shattered leg and the anguish of losing two loved ones, and then he arrived back out of it all. David Cohen, who had been appointed comeback jockey of the year in 2018, is experienced, weathered and as serious as a heart attack about the job he loves.
«I am in a fantastic place, doing what I love,» he explained. «I am just blessed to have the help from the trainers and owners and grateful to be able I’m currently in, after such a lengthy time off and a severe injury.»
David Cohen is a warrior who is happy to be back in the saddle, and we are very pleased to have him .

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