LONG GROVE, Ill. (CBS) — The body of a man believed to be an Arlington Park racetrack jockey was found dead at the scene of a garage fire in Long Grove.
The fire broke out Tuesday in a garage in the 5100 block of North Arlington Heights Road in Long Grove. The Lake County Sheriff’s office declined to release the man’s identity pending family notification.
But the Daily Herald reports the body was that of Eusebio “Eddie” Razo Jr., a jockey at the racetrack.
Several residents on the block reported hearing an explosion at the home of Razo and his wife, Doreen, and the manager of the nearby grocery store said he saw it.
“We just heard something go ‘BOOM!’” said Ron Wyatt, manager of Sunset Foods, 4190 Illinois Route 83, which backs up to the west end of the Razo property.
Wyatt said he and a few other employees happened to be outside at about 9:15 a.m., when something in the Razos’ garage exploded. Leaf-burning is common in the area, but he said it was obvious what had happened involved much more than that.
“We noticed a big ball of fire,” he said.
The Long Grove Fire Protection District and numerous other agencies responded to the residence, near the north terminal of a dead-end road that opens onto Route 83. Chief Robert Turpel said shortly after arriving at the scene that the garage was on fire, but did not note any injuries or deaths.
The Razos’ detached garage was visibly charred, and a car parked near it and the side of the house facing it appeared to have fresh damage. Vehicles from Nicor gas utility and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office were parked near the home, and a Lake County deputy blocked off the entrance to the neighborhood at Route 83.
The Razos used the garage to store horseback riding gear and small farm equipment, the Daily Herald reported. Family members tell the newspaper that Razo walked into the garage when the main overhead door was down either before or during the fire.
Razo was born in Mexico City in 1966, and stared galloping horses at the age of 13, the Daily Herald reported. He had his jockey license by the age of 15, when he was still in Mexico, and first raced at Arlington Park after a trip to visit a cousin at that ended up lasting two years, the newspaper reported.
The Daily Racing Forum says Razo racked up 2,692 wins during his career, the Daily Herald reported. He won his first riding title at the old Sportsman’s Park in 1988, and his last at Oaklawn Park in 2008, the newspaper reported.
The Lake County News-Sun contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)