Jockey Ho Undergoes Brain Surgery After Fall

(from Golden Gate Fields)
Jockey Sunny Ho was listed in critical condition Thursday after undergoing emergency surgery Wednesday night for bleeding in his brain after being thrown in the seventh race at Golden Gate Fields.

The surgery was performed at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

Ho went down hard when his mount, Sport Boy Tommy, fractured his right cannon bone on the backstretch. The jockey initially appeared to have escaped serious injury in the accident as he got up on his own and was fully conscious.

The 44-year-old rider was to go Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley for precautionary X-rays and a CAT-scan when he became nauseous and then almost stopped breathing. He was resuscitated by Golden Gate Fields track physician Dr. David Seftel at the track's medical clinic and then rushed to Alta Bates Medical Center, where tests revealed bleeding in the brain.

Ho was then transferred to Highland Hospital, which has the top trauma center in the area.

"The surgery was successful," reported Dr. Seftel Thursday morning. "The neurosurgeon removed all the blood that had accumulated around the brain and was able to stop the bleeding. He remains in ICU and is being heavily sedated. He is being given medication that prevents brain swelling as well as anti-seizure medication.

"This is a very serious brain injury," Dr. Seftel continued. "His prognosis is guarded at this point. The critical time is the next 48 to 72 hours. It's too early to tell what damage has been done and what the extent of recovery will be."

Ho came to the U.S. from Hong Kong in December 2001, and rode his first winner in the U.S. on Nov. 14, 2002, at Golden Gate Fields. Ho, who had six wins from 176 mounts last year, was 0-for-14 this year before going down Wednesday.

Sport Boy Tommy was euthanized.