The story behind the story of a horse named doctor Sotelo


Omar and I were friends. I always have good relationships with my patients.  In those relationships, there is comradery and trust. Omar was unique; he had hope and a will. Unlike others, he had a vision of the future, despite his illness. For him, there was always a tomorrow, and tomorrow is the race day. This story is the story about his horse, his legacy that is named Doctor Sotelo. He keeps moving forward, honoring the meaning of friendship, the celebration of life, and moments that we have lived. Even though Omar is not here, his presence will always be.

Omar Rosillo came to my clinic with an advanced stage of prostate cancer. His cancer was very aggressive. However, we managed to operate on him and prolong his life for at least two years. I did his surgery in LA, but I met him in Venezuela.

At his first consultation, we agreed to do the surgery, and immediately planned all his accommodations for LA. I did the surgery at Verdugo Hills Hospital. During that same week I was scheduled to operate on another very close friend, Francisco Piñera. I will always remember both at the same hotel, on the same floor.  I introduced them, I introduced their wives, I invited them to eat. I told them, you have company now. That’s what I try to do for all my patients. In that way they are not alone.  There is an opportunity for friendships to start between people who are enduring the same hardships. The companionship and affection, helps in the healing process. In that sense, the healing begins before the surgery.

Afterwards, I helped them navigate through the recovery process.

One day Omar, told me “I have a fantastic racehorse, and I want to name him after you. I want to call him Doctor Sotelo, would you let me?” And I told him, “if that makes you happy, that’s what matters.” Later, people told me, “ are you crazy?” “what if he loses?”. Wins and losses were of no consequence. For me, the importance was the meaning of the gesture. It was an expression of gratitude towards the care he received. Moreover, it was a demonstration of appreciation for a new and esteemed friendship that had been created.

The horse won, and now we are at the door of the Caribbean Championships. He is stunning, fiercely spirited animal that is a symbol of respect and friendship.

I remember the day that the horse raced for the first time. Omar came from Maracay, he was on chemotherapy, and he could only talk about his future visions and the possibilities that the horse had. Now his future is the present, and his dream is his stunning brown horse.