Jockey Michael Martinez, who ranks second in the rider standings at Golden Gate Fields, was in critical but stable condition Sept. 13 after nearly 11 hours of emergency surgery overnight at Oakland's Highland Hospital.
Martinez, 24, suffered a severed spinal cord in a spill Sept. 12 at the Albany, Calif., track, according to reports. In addition, he had a major head injury and punctured lung. A track official said Dr. Frederico Castro-Moure removed shards of three fractured vertebrae during the lengthy surgery.
The operation was completed at about 5 a.m. Martinez's condition was upgraded to stable after doctors were able to slow bleeding in the rider's head and lungs Sept. 13.
Martinez rode favorite Fair 'n Warmer in the fifth race, a $4,000 claiming race at five furlongs, when the filly clipped heels and fell going into the far turn. The filly scrambled to her feet and was apparently uninjured.
A native of Panama, Martinez ranks 13th in the nation with 168 wins in 2010. He has 21 victories at the current Golden Gate meeting. His cousin, jockey Alex Solis, took off his mounts in Kentucky to join the family in Oakland.