11/26/2004 12:00AM

Bad spills, but few injuries


ALBANY, Calif. - Golden Gate Fields was the scene of two spectacular accidents in the past week, but, fortunately, the jockeys and most of the horses came out of the spills with mostly minor injuries.

The latest jockey to be injured was Ron Warren Jr., who was hurt Thursday during morning workouts.

Warren was working the 4-year-old filly A Reel Tizzy, a solid allowance runner, when she suffered a fatal breakdown. Warren was taken to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley for X-rays of a bruised right shoulder and rib cage. The X-rays revealed a possible rib fracture, and Warren will likely miss at least a week.

The two most serious recent spills came Wednesday and last Saturday.

Apprentice jockey Kate Repp suffered a concussion Wednesday and did not ride her mounts Friday. Her mount, Wild Irish Dream, clipped heels with Pia's Courage and fell inside the sixteenth pole. Sexy Splasher also fell, but her rider, Pedro Mercado, walked off the track following the incident.

A.L. Gutierrez, the jockey on Pia's Courage, was suspended seven days for causing interference in the stretch.

A spectacular four-horse spill last Saturday ended with the race being declared no contest after Irish Tizzy broke his right ankle and fell.

Three of the four jockeys involved in the spill escaped serious injury. Iggy Puglisi rode in the next race. Both Alfredo Miranda and David Lopez returned to action Wednesday.

The fourth jockey, Francisco Duran, suffered a broken rib on his right side, a broken rib on his left side, a small puncture to his left lung, and partial dislocation of his left collarbone. His mount, Rippling Water, fell after he couldn't avoid Irish Tizzy. A second horse, Sky Guy, rolled over Duran.

"When you go down, you don't have time to be scared," said Duran, who left the hospital Tuesday and should be sidelined a minimum of three weeks.

Three riders injured earlier in the year are making plans to return within the next month or so.

Jockey Joe Castro, who broke his left clavicle in three places in a September workout spill, will return to action next Wednesday, but Chance Rollins, who broke his left wrist in an Oct. 15 spill at Bay Meadows, will not be able to resume riding until Jan. 1. Jason Lumpkins, who dislocated his left shoulder on Nov. 14, probably won't ride until after Christmas.

Track physician Dr. David Seftel says the flak jackets jockeys are required to wear and the new larger helmets many use "make an enormous difference." He also has worked with riders on how to fall to prevent more serious injury.

Congressionalhonor comes off stakes win

A pair of $50,000 optional claimers headline Sunday's Golden Gate Fields card.

Congressionalhonor, winner of the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Derby in his last start, and Millenaire, making his U.S. debut after winning a Grade 2 in his final start in his native Brazil, meet in a 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Congressionalhonor, who lost a pair of photo finishes in his two starts prior to his stakes victory, meets older for the first time since his maiden victory.

Boss Ego, who has won more money at Golden Gate than any of his five rivals have earned in their careers, ilooks tough in a 1 1/16-mile race on the dirt. Although winless this year, he should be set for a good effort after three sprints.

Gentlestone came north and switched from turf to the main track, winning a first-level allowance race in his last start.