Akili Gray, who spent most of his riding career on the Texas circuit, died April 15 at age 30. Last July, Gray sustained serious injuries in a spill at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds when his mount fell after clipping heels in a 5 ½-furlong maiden race. The rider underwent brain surgery for an aneurysm and later was transferred to a rehabilitation center in Austin, where he had shown signs of progress. By the end of last summer, he was breathing on his own and had started to respond to verbal commands. 'He had come home for a while and then ended up back in the hospital,” said his brother Arthur Gray III. “During the past month he was having serious medical problems and conditions, and he was on life support.' Originally from Los Angeles, Gray started his riding career in Florida in 2001 and then moved his tack to Texas, where he rode at all five of the state's tracks. 'He just loved Texas so much,' said his brother, who like Akili is an athelete and holds the handcycling world record in the 10K. 'He called it home. He kind of reminded me of the country singer Buck Owens. I live in Bakersfield, California, and Buck Owens called Bakersfield his home even though he wasn't from there and that's the way my brother felt about Texas.' 'I can tell you that I'm not taking it as hard as a brother normally would because I know that my brother died doing what he loved to do,' he added. 'My father used to work with horses and train horses so he grew into it. My father's passion was horses, so his passion was horses.' According to equineline.com, Gray won 16 Thoroughbred races and $187, 384 in purses. He also rode Quarter Horses. Gray's survivors include his wife and two children. He will be buried at Inglewood Cemetery in California at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. Thanks to the Texas Thoroughbred Association for providing information about Akili.

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  1. I USE TO PONY AKILI AT GILLESPIE & RETAMA PARK. HE TALKED MORE THAN ANY OTHER RIDER I KNOW. HE WILL BE MISSED ON THE TRACK. MY THOUGHTS & PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS FAMILY.

  2. Tribute to Akili Gray submitted by TRACI on Apr 19, 2006. I USE TO PONY AKILI AT GILLESPIE & RETAMA PARK. HE TALKED MORE THAN ANY OTHER RIDER I KNOW. HE WILL BE MISSED ON THE TRACK. MY THOUGHTS & PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS FAMILY. STOCKDALE, TX TRACI ROOKIE_2003@EARTHLINK.NET

  3. I will miss his grin as he walked thru my barn looking for morning gallops, or sometimes just wanting a hug. I talked to him the night before his spill, and as usual he was happy and smiling. He will be remembered as a special person.

  4. i was so in love with akili gray and he was to with me i just can’t think that he is gone me and akili was together 4 a long time he was my heart and i was his the last time i saw him when he just came down here from h-town and told me that he had a race and when he was done he was going to come over to me and my mo and dad they love him so much and i love to so much i am sorry to here about is death i wish the family to keep in in there heart like i will

  5. It’s never easy for those left behind but when you lose someone so unexpectedly we all feel the shock. May it help to know how many people share your sorrow and stand with you in your time of need. Our prayers are with you, from all the Texas Horsemen

  6. Akili was a really good hearted guy and was very lucky to have such a loving, caring wife. I have missed him and still miss him. I know he is in a better place. God bless him and his wonderful wife and bring peace to her heart.

  7. I met Akili only once, in passing, while in the racing office at Sam Houston. I was inquiring as to his riding weight since one of my horses had been assigned a very low weight in a handicap. Although my horse did not run, and I never had the opportunity to use Akili, I was extremely impressed with his professional manner, level of confidence, and outgoing friendly personality. I know I speak for all horsemen in expressing heartfelt sympathy for the family. As tragic as his death was, seldom do any of us have the chance to meet our Maker as a result of something that we love to do. He will be missed.

  8. My heart goes out to Akili’s family as you have all suffered a great loss. I met Akili when he caught some morning rides at Sam Houston on one of our homebred thoroughbreds under the training of Dan McNair. Akili, always cheerful, also always took the time to answer my questions after he spoke with Dan upon completing the day’s exercise. As an owner/breeder I really appreciated that. Having met him on the backside I came to look for him in the race programs and saw him ride in several Sam Houston races on Champion Stables horses and others. He was a good rider. I was greatly saddened to learn of his accident last summer and was hopeful that he could and would recover from his injuries. I was very hopeful when I read where he was making progress. I did not know of his recent medical set-backs but believe that someone talented and courageous enough to have known the freedom of flying around the oval perched on the back of an athletic horse full of run, knowing that he could not attain that recovery – one that would have allowed him a useful life among horses and fellow horsemen/women, able to provide for his family – that it was a blessing for his soul to be set free from a body too broken to be repaired. I pray that his family draw some comfort from this in their loss. That he struggled to survive and recover for so long says how much he wanted to be with his loved ones in this world, but now he is free of pain and limitation in this one by passing on to the next one. May Akili now ride on forever free on untiring horses in God’s heaven. Rest in Peace Akili Gray

  9. My heart goes out to Akili’s family as you have all suffered a great loss. I met Akili when he caught some morning rides at Sam Houston on one of our homebred thoroughbreds under the training of Dan McNair. Akili, always cheerful, also always took the time to answer my questions after he spoke with Dan upon completing the day’s exercise. As an owner/breeder I really appreciated that. Having met him on the backside I came to look for him in the race programs and saw him ride in several Sam Houston races on Champion Stables horses and others. He was a good rider. I was greatly saddened to learn of his accident last summer and was hopeful that he could and would recover from his injuries. I was very hopeful when I read where he was making progress. I did not know of his recent medical set-backs but believe that someone talented and courageous enough to have known the freedom of flying around the oval perched on the back of an athletic horse full of run, knowing that he could not attain that recovery – one that would have allowed him a useful life among horses and fellow horsemen/women, able to provide for his family – that it was a blessing for his soul to be set free from a body too broken to be repaired. I pray that his family draw some comfort from this in their loss. That he struggled to survive and recover for so long says how much he wanted to be with his loved ones in this world, but now he is free of pain and limitation in this one by passing on to the next one. May Akili now ride on forever free on untiring horses in God’s heaven. Rest in Peace Akili Gray

  10. I offer my condolences to the family of Akili Gray. He will be greatly missed. I am very greatful in having watched him race at Retama Park. I am very appreciative to his family for allowing us, his fans, to share his time with us. God bless you, you are in our prayers and hearts.

  11. Akili(Tiny Conrad…what he’s known as in South Central Los Angeles) was INDEED a very special being,in which I am Honored to have been a homie&close friend to(as well as one of his childrens’ Godfather).Though small in stature,he was the epitome of strength.I recall when he first told me his plan to become a jockey.I Knew he’d succeed.When we were throwing the livest parties in the region,believe it or not…he was a part of our security/crowd control detail.We use to sit up ’til daybreak talkin’ about how we could make a positive impact in the hood.Be role models for the youth..Well ‘Kili…you did your part,li’l brotherAnd if God’s willing,I’ll do the rest. Unfortunately we all were informed of his accident,when it was too late. Akili Adhana”ConradIV”Gray..We all love you,Groove!!You shall NEVER be forgotten!! Selo/Dulo

  12. Hello all. I And the Gray Family thank you all for your words of inlightment. for info. and Photo’s, up-dates, and all other. please E-mail to amir3rd@aol.com or 661-615-9370. thank you all and our prayers are with you aswell. thank you Arthur M.L. GrayIII P.S. God Bless You All.

  13. As a horseman, I would like to extend my condolences to the Gray family and say that there are no braver and greater athletes than jockeys. As a Texan, I am proud that Akili Gray considered this great State his home.

  14. To the Gray family from one of you pallbearer it was an honor to have a spot as a pallbearer of an honored jokey I give my support to Akili an family much love GOD BLESS and keep u all M.T.BLACK Ps. Rest in peace.

  15. Hello I am the father of Akili Gray I and My family truly thank you all for your kind words, and offering’s. My only problem, has been with my sons care givers. to this date Travis Thomas, nor any of the poeple that I placed over my sons care has not done anything for his childern. And if you have sent any funds. ***Please Make sure that it is going to the need that you sent it for ***. I am sorry for the bad news but I and the Gray family would like for you to know of this problem. Phone me at 310-763-3938

  16. IT WAS JULY 1999 WHEN AKILI AND I FIRST MET.IT WAS A LOVE SO STRONG AS IF GOD HIMSELF WAS RIGHT THERE WITH US.AKILI AND I WAS MARRIED @ MIDNIGHT COMING INTO THE NEW MILLINEUM AND IN 2001 WE SET OUT ON OUR JOURNEY TO TEXAS AFTER LEAVING MIAMI RACETRACKS WHERE HE RACED FOR MR SAM ABBEY SR.I WAS THERE UNTIL I CAME BACK TO FOR A FAMILY REUNION AND FOUND OUT THAT WE WERE GONNA HAVE TWINS AKILI WAS VERY HAPPY ESPECIALLY WHEN WE FOUND OUT IT WAS A GIRL AND A BOY WHOM HE NAMED.I CAN REMEMBER WHEN I WENT INTO LABOR,WE STARTED OUT AT ONE HOSPITAL AND DUE TO AKILI JR BEING BREECH AND UNDER 3LBS I WAS TRANSPORTED TO GAINESVILLE FL & WE WAS WAITING ON HIM SO THEY COULD START THE SURGERY.SO HE SHOWS UP A FEW HOURS LATER AND WHEN I ASKED WHERE DID YOU GO WHEN YOU STOPPED FOLLOWING THE AMBULANCE HE RESPONDED I WENT TO GET ON A COUPLE OF HORSES BECAUSE HE KNEW THAT I WAS GONNA WAIT UNTIL HE CAME. OUR KIDS AND I MISS HIM SO MUCH I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HE’S GONE BUT I DO KNOW THAT GOD PUT US TOGETHER AND FROM THAT LOVE WE SHARED WE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY THAT LOVES HIM WITH ALL OF OUR HEARTS AND HE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTON AND HIS PRESENCE AND SPIRIT LIVES IN OUR HOME ALL DAY EVERYDAY. I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS AND THROUGHTS AND PLEASE CONTINUE TO KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS.WE LOVE AND MISS YOU, YOUR WIFE AND KIDS

  17. akili gray was a wonderful person and also the father of my first child and his first born daughter her name is akilia gray and she will be 14 years old.she really loved her father and cared for him so please keep her in you prays

  18. My condolences, I have met your father and noticed his last name was the same as mine my prayers go out to his family.

  19. Akili A. Gray is my beloved cousin. We grew up in Los Angeles together with our family… He is truly missed and loved. Starr J.

  20. Akilli is my cousin, we grew up together in Los Angeles, Ca Akilli you will always be missed. Sorry to hear about Akilli this way, may God Bless his family. Love you cousin, Sherry

  21. I WOULD LOVE 2 HEAR FROM ALL OF U WHO SIGNED.I’M CURRENTLY WORKING ON HIS STORY(AKILI’S HEAL).KNOW THAT HIS DEATH WAS NO ACCIDENT& HIS PASSION 4 THE HORSERACING SPORT WAS HIS DESTINY&I’M NOT GOIN AWAY UNTIL ALL THOSE INVOLED N MY HUSBAND’S NON-ACCIDENTAL DEATH.MRS TRACY GRAY(352)287-0903 OR tracygray107@windstream.net HE WAS MAKIN HIS DREAM A REALITY.

  22. Tracy, I just found out about Akili’s passing after recently doing an internet search to find you all. I know it has been such a long time, but my prayers go up for your family.

  23. To all of akili’s friends & family thanks for ur prayers & to Laverne thompson call me i have something akili would want u to have hope your family is fine & just to let the world know this was no accident the brain surgeon states its an incident & i do believe it was racially motivated. Laverne 352 -287-0903 n fl must talk. LIVING THE DREAM HIS-STORY, His WIFE 4 LIFE

  24. Dad i miss you i’ll be 16 this up coming sunday and wish you could be here to celebrate with me, but ik you will be in my heart love and miss you a lot

  25. Akili Gray is my father and he died when I was only three years old I really miss him I wish he was still here and I wish he was here for my 11th birthday july 16th me and my twin sister aaliyah there is 4 of us now

  26. hi I think you used to also now my mother Rachel… I am one of his oldest daughters my name is brezhane and I would love to know more about him so if you would please contact me @ (731)-363-8749

  27. hi I think you used to also now my mother Rachel… I am one of his oldest daughters my name is brezhane and I would love to know more about him so if you would please contact me @ (731)-363-8749

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