Roberto Gonzalez Breaks Neck Vertebrae

Veteran 54-year-old rider sidelined indefinitely after Golden Gate Fields accident.

(from Golden Gate Fields release)

Veteran 54-year-old jockey Roberto Gonzalez will be sidelined indefinitely after breaking the C-2 vertebrae in his neck and his left ankle in a spill at Golden Gate Fields April 29. 

The accident occurred in the sixth race, a two-furlong dash for 2-year-old fillies when Gonzalez’s mount, Free Runnin, lost the action in her hind legs passing the furlong pole and ducked into the path of Devil Singletary and jockey Alfredo Miranda. 

Devil Singletary had no chance of avoiding Free Runnin and the result was a collision that dropped Free Runnin and both jockeys. Miranda escaped the incident with a neck sprain and a bruised right knee.

Gonzalez, who began riding in 1975 and has 4,454 career wins, was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland and was fitted with a halo neck brace Thursday to stabilize the C-2 fracture. His ankle was put in a cast.

Free Runnin fractured her left front leg and was euthanized. Devil Singletary, who  chased the field home, escaped injury, according to trainer Clifford Delima. 

“She’s a little sore but otherwise OK,” said Delima on the morning after the mishap.