Fund Established for Injured Rider Martinez

Northern California jockey remains in intensive care at Oakland hospital after fall.

A fund for jockey Michael Martinez, seriously injured in a spill Sept. 12 at Golden Gate Fields, has been established to help provide financial aid to the 24-year-old rider and his family.

Checks should be made out to “Michael Martinez Fund” and sent to Golden Gate Fields, 1100 Eastshore Highway, Berkeley, CA 94710.

“No sport has better fans than horse racing, and we have received inquiries from fans across the country wanting to know how they could help Michael,” said Robert Hartman, general manager of Golden Gate Fields. “The establishment of the Michael Martinez Fund affords people the opportunity to assist this fine young man and his family.”

Martinez’s fiancee, Charlotte, is due to give birth the couple’s first child.

Martinez is recovering in the intensive care unit at Highland Hospital in Oakland after undergoing 11 hours of overnight emergency surgery Sept. 12-13.  He severed his spinal cord in the fall and suffered a major head injury, a punctured lung and and three completely fractured vertebrae. He remained in critical but stable condition as of Sept. 16.

The native of Panama ranked 13th in the nation with 168 victories and was second-leading rider at the current Golden Gate meet.

He was thrown to the ground in the fifth race Sept. 12 when his mount Fair 'n Warmer clipped heels and fell going in the far turn of a $4,000 claiming race at five furlongs. Reports said the filly, who was not badly injured, fell on top of Martinez before scrambling to her feet.