Wednesday's gray skies matched the somber mood at Hawthorne Racecourse, Chicago's century-old racing institution. Authorities are not confirming that 46-year-old jockey Razo was the victim in a fire Tuesday at his home, but his colleagues said Wednesday they have lost a father figure.
Jockey Timothy Thornton can't believe Razo is gone. A moment of silence for Razo was held at post time Wednesday afternoon.
"He was always there to help you, teach you to get going," Thornton said. "Anytime you were in need of help, or in need of anything, he was always there for you."
The Lake County Sheriff is leading the investigation into what happened at the Razo farm in Long Grove Tuesday. Firefighters were called to a burning garage at 9:28 a.m. and found a charred body.
"Was it an arson? Was it some type of natural cause? We don't have the answer to any of those yet," said Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran.
Lake County coroner Artis Yancey says dental records will have to be used to confirm the identity.
"The remains were very badly burned beyond recognition," said Yancey. "This is the worst that I've seen."
Eddie Razo was born in Mexico City and started racing horses as soon as he could get a license. He won 2,692 races in total.
Police say Razo had been waiting for his wife at home before setting off to a doctor's appointment. A relative said, while waiting, he went out to his garage which was then engulfed in flames.
At Hawthorne, where he last raced two years ago, he was working on getting his jockey's agent license. His colleagues said he had no enemies.
"He was a great person in the community," said jockey Chris Emigh. "I'm sure he'd agree with me that Chicago racing was his family. He loved every one of us."
The Lake County coroner was expected to confirm Razo's identity following an autopsy Wednesday afternoon.
A memorial race named for Razo has been scheduled as the last race at Hawthorne on Sunday.
UPDATE: The Lake County Coroner's Office confirmed Wednesday night that Razo was the deceased. The identification was made through dental forensics. The cause of death is still unknown.