Jockey Eibar Coa underwent approximately six hours of surgery Saturday, Feb. 19 at Memorial Regional Hospital on his C-4 vertebra, which was broken in a spill following the finish of Friday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park.
Family spokesperson Tito Fuentes, Coa’s agent, said Coa came out of the surgery well and was able to move his hands.
“After the operation the doctors said they were encouraged,” Fuentes said. “He was moving his hands, and that’s a great sign.”
Coa had feeling in his body but had not been able to move his hands prior to surgery.
The 40-year-old rider was involved in a spill on Friday when Precious Lady, who finished second behind winner Omi’s Vindication, fell to the turf course, unseating jockey Paco Lopez just yards past the finish line. Unable to avoid the fallen horse, Lady Chesterfield subsequently fell, unseating Coa.
Lopez was treated for a chipped elbow and released from the hospital on Friday. His riding status is day-to-day.
Coa, a Venezuela native who moved to the U.S. in 1993, reached his 4,000th racing victory last year.