07/26/2001 11:00PM

Bravo breaks leg in spill

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Leading jockey Joe Bravo broke his leg in four places in a spill in the fifth race at Monmouth Friday.

X-rays taken at Monmouth Medical Center, in Long Branch, revealed that Bravo, an eight-time Monmouth riding champion, suffered a fracture in two places of the tibia and two places of the fibula in his left leg.

Bravo, 30, was to undergo surgery either Friday night or Saturday morning, according to his agent, Danny Mellul. At that time, an estimate will be made on how long he will need to recuperate.

Just before leaving the chute on the turf course, Bravo's mount, King of Spain, clipped heels while running in the back of the pack, and stumbled. Bravo attempted to snatch the horse up, causing the horse to veer toward the rail. Bravo bobbled off the horse, and attempted to hold on, but was dropped off the left side of his mount next to Cauldron, ridden by Eibar Coa, who snatched up his horse to avoid Bravo.

Bravo did not get up from the turf, and had to be taken away in a stretcher.

Bravo was involved in a battle for top jockey with Coa. After Friday, Bravo led Coa by one victory, 49-48.