Jockey Julien Couton sustained compression fractures to his thoracic vertebrae in a spill at Golden Gate Fields May 27 and will be sidelined for several weeks, track physician Dr. David Seftel reported the following morning.
Initial reports had Couton escaping the accident with only bruising to his back but further evaluation at Highland Hospital in Oakland revealed the broken seventh and eighth vertebrae.
“A reread of his CAT scan revealed the fractures,” said Seftel May 28. “There is no evidence of any spinal cord impairment or anything of that nature. He spent a quiet night in the intensive care unit for observation and will likely stay at Highland for another day or so for monitoring. He’ll then be fitted with a (back) brace and begin his rehabilitation. He will not be riding for eight to 12 weeks.”
Couton hit the ground hard in the six-furlong fifth race when his mount, Nassau Gold, slowed on the far turn, fell, and died. A necropsy will be performed on Nassau Gold to determine what caused the 5-year-old gelding to fall.