In Monday afternoon's sixth race at Portland Meadows, apprentice jockey Jorge Herrera was injured after he was unseated when his mount Nasty Jab clipped heels and stumbled. Herrera, 27, was taken to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Portland. X-Rays showed he fractured the facet joint of his seven cervical vertebrae, but did not suffer any neurological deficits as a result of the spill. Facet joints connect the bony arches of each of the vertebral bodies. There are two facet joints between each pair of vertebrae, one on each side. Facet joints connect each vertebra with the next vertebra above and below. He will remain in the hospital for at least 24 hours for further observation. Doctors were unsure if the fracture is stable or not; the latter would require surgery at some point. Further information regarding the stability of the fracture will not be available for a couple of days. Herrera, a 10-pound apprentice, won the first race of his career last Monday, Jan. 3 and won a pair on Sunday and one earlier on Monday's card. He has a total of four wins in 29 starts with three second place finishes and five thirds at Portland Meadows. Herrera and his mount, Nasty Jab, moved inside approaching the eighth pole when the pair clipped heels with Arctic Warning. Nasty Jab then stumbled, unseating Herrera, who did a complete somersault in mid-air, tucked and rolled before landing on the surface. Herrera got up on his own within seconds of landing and walked to the ambulance.
Nasty Jab returned from the incident unharmed.