Apprentice Nicolas to Miss 4-6 Weeks

Jockey injures back and neck in fall during eighth race Jan. 2 at Santa Anita.

Apprentice jockey Gonzalo Nicolas is expected to miss four to six weeks with a vertebrae chip on the lower part of his back when thrown at Santa Anita Park Jan. 2 after his mount, Shand, broke down and fell in upper stretch.

The breakdown occurred in the eighth and final race of the day, a $40,000 maiden claiming heat for older fillies mares going six furlongs on the main track.

Agent Vince DeGregory confirmed the injury on the morning of Jan. 3. Nicolas was treated at Huntington Memorial Hospital and released to his family, which took him to their home in Riverside.

"It was a tough night," DeGregory said. "He had tremendous pain in his neck and back. He won't need surgery, but we'll take all the time necessary before coming back. Right now, it looks like four to six weeks."

A 23-year-old native of Guatemala, Nicolas had one win from 16 mounts through Santa Anita's first six days, with two seconds and two thirds. Nicolas began riding last year and has 25 wins overall from 325 mounts.

Shand, trained by Peter Eurton, was euthanized.